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Lance Armstrong on Doping in the 1990s: I’d “Probably Do It Again”

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong admitted to BBC Sport that if he were cycling again in the 1990s, he'd probably still use performance-enhancing drugs

At least he’s being honest? Two years after a doping scandal cost him his reputation (not to mention his seven Tour de France titles), Lance Armstrong is speaking out about his past behavior. In a video interview posted by BBC Sport on Monday, Jan. 26, the disgraced cyclist admitted that if he had to go back and do it all over under the same circumstances, he’d probably still use performance-enhancing drugs. 

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“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again. Because I don’t think you have to do it again,” he began. “If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, [I’d] probably do it again.”

Armstrong, 43, knows that’s not the answer people want to hear, but it’s the truth. “That’s the honest answer. But it’s an answer that needs some explanation,” he told BBC Sport’s Dan Roan. “I mean, I look at everything — when I made that decision, when my teammates made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision. We get it. It was a bad decision in an imperfect time. But it happened.”

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lance armstrong racing
Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line on stage eight of the 2010 Tour de France

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He went on to point out some of the less negative effects of pervasive doping in the ’90s, saying, “I know what happened to the sport of cycling from 1990 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw its expansion. I know what happened with the industry…” 

Then, referencing his own nonprofit, the Livestrong Foundation, he added, “I know what happened to my foundation, from raising no money to raising $500 million, serving 3 million people. Do all those people want to, do we want to take it away? I don’t think anybody says yes.”

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One thing Armstrong would do differently? “What I would want to do is, I would want to change the man that did those things,” the athlete told Roan. “Maybe not the decision, but the way he acted — the way he treated other people, the way he just couldn’t stop fighting. It’s great to fight in training, it’s great to fight in the race. You don’t need to get in a press conference or an interview or a personal interaction and fight. That’s the man that really needed to change and can never come back.”

See more of Armstrong’s interview with BBC Sport here. The full documentary airs on BBC News on Thursday, Jan. 29.

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