Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he took EPO, testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone to help him to seven Tour de France victories
Let us remember his years of lies, bullying, intimidation and control which enabled him to thrive, corrupt his sport and deprive honest athletes of their just reward. It was an Irish reporter David Walsh of the Sunday Times who broke the story of his drug cheating based on the account and evidence of Emma O'Reilly from Dublin who worked on Lance Armstrong's support staff. Armstrong attempted to destroy her and called her a "money seeking whore". O'Reilly first went public in 2003, when she co-operated on a book, LA Confidentiel: Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong, that sought to expose Armstrong as a drug cheat. Armstrong sued her for libel.
Despite threats and legal action, the courage of
Betsy Andreu and Emma O’Reilly finally exposed
Lance Armstrong’s lies
Emma O'Reilly said Armstrong demonised her as a prostitute with a drinking problem, and had her hauled into court. Ultimately, a legal settlement was reached, and O'Reilly tried to pick up the pieces of her life, sometimes talking about Armstrong and drugs, but to little notice. She recounted how she once travelled from France to Spain and back to pick up illegal pills for Armstrong and delivered them to him in a McDonald's parking lot outside Nice. Another time, she took a package of testosterone and got it in the hands of another rider. O'Reilly said she provided ice to the riders who had containers full of doping materials they needed to keep from spoiling. She spoke of using her talents with makeup to disguise bruising from needles on the arms of the riders.
|David Walsh of The Sunday Times who broke the story |
and was successfully sued for libel by Armstrong
based on perjured evidence
Armstrong took and won a libel action against David Walsh of the Sunday Times newspaper. They, to their great credit, supported their reporter and O'Reilly and are now counter suing Armstrong for over a million; he won £300,000 from them plus costs in 2004 based on evidence which has proved to be fraudulent. In the end, as part of a settlement, the Sunday Times wrote an apology. O'Reilly paid no money, she said. "Emma suffered from the lawsuit the most," Walsh said this week. "This woman was an opponent of Lance Armstrong and was completely vilified. Now, everyone wants to know. But where were they in 2004?"
Nicole Cooke, the 2008 Olympic road race champion, branded the prime-time interview "a pantomime". Armstrong admitted drug-taking but has not, so far, named names or revealed how deep the corruption was that allowed him to escape detection for so long, Cooke noted. "Lance Armstrong should have been taken to a court, not to an Oprah Winfrey sofa," she said. After years of fierce denials, the 41-year-old Texan admitted using the blood-boosting agent EPO, as well as taking testosterone, human growth hormone, cortisone and also admitted blood doping. The United States Anti-Doping Agency's formal case against Armstrong was based on O'Reilly's testimony and help and his team was sponsored by the publicly owned US Postal Service. Let us remember this is far from a victimless crime.
First and foremost an entire sport has been devalued and corrupted. Here in Britain with the 2012 Olympics from the wonderful Velodrome and Bradley Wiggins victory in the Tour de France we have seen cycling’s ability to inspire as well as help people to be healthier. Secondly many cyclists have died and developed health problems as a result of the pressure to use drugs. Thirdly the money from sponsorship was obtained by a prolonged fraudulent conspiracy not just by Armstrong but by all those who assisted and turned a blind eye. And lastly but not least Armstrong actively set out to intimidate and destroy those who tried to tell the truth, especially Emma O’Reilly and David Walsh.
Of his doping confession, Pat McQuaid, the Irish President of UCI, the sport’s international governing body said “Lance Armstrong’s decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport. It was disturbing to watch him describe a litany of offences including, among others, doping throughout his career, leading a team that doped, bullying, consistently lying to everyone and producing a backdated medical prescription to justify a test.”
Armstrong is a nasty controlling bully but you tend to find a similar (male) type at the helm in every failed bank and company? There is no redemption until he leaves comfortable sofas, film and book deals, faces a court of law, implicates his co-conspirators in his fraud and makes restitution to Emma O’Reilly and David Walsh.