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Lance Armstrong | Coming Clean | 4

Lance Armstrong | Coming Clean | 4

Tue, 11 May 2021 09:00

Floyd Landis goes public about performance-enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong struggles to contain the fallout, as the truth comes out.

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It's April 20th, 2010 in Marina Del Rey, California. Travis Tigard steps into a meeting room at a Marriott Hotel. It has a view of the Pacific Ocean and the room is empty and silent. For Tigard, that's a good thing, because he needs a moment to collect his thoughts. He's about to interview a high profile athlete and it could become volatile. Tigard takes a seat and reviews the questions he's planning to ask. They're about doping and professional cycling, and Tigard knows that what he learns today could change the future of the sport. Tigard is the head of the U.S. anti doping agency. The organization is an independent non profit and it oversees drug testing for Olympic athletes. Their mission, among others, is to create a world where athletes can compete fairly where they don't feel pressured to use performance enhancing drugs. And it's that mission that makes today's meeting so crucial. Any minute, Floyd Landis is supposed to arrive. Landis is a former winner of the Tour de France, but his reputation was tarnished after test results showed he'd been doping. Now it appears that Landis is ready to come clean. He may also be willing to name names and speak out about the corruption that's rampant in cycling. The door to the conference room opens, and for a second, Tigard is confused. The man who's standing in the doorway has a sagging stomach, his eyes are puffy and bloodshot. Tigard can't believe this is Floyd Landis, an athlete who won the Tour de France just four years ago. He looks like a mess. But when he speaks, there's no mistaking it. This broken man is Floyd Landis. Hey, Travis, sorry to hold you on. No, not... We're good. Sorry, Floyd, I didn't recognize you. Oh, sorry. Last few years haven't been exactly easy. Yeah, I'm sure. Please come in. Have a seat. Tigard opens a notebook as Landis takes a seat at the table. So Travis, I should have asked, how long do you want to talk? Well, it depends. If you give me the whole truth, it may not take long at all. I don't understand. Why wouldn't I tell the truth? Well, look Floyd, let's be honest. For years you've claimed you didn't go, you even published a book, maintaining your innocence. And now suddenly you're saying you want to come clean. Yeah. I've made mistakes. And that's why I want to turn things around. Well Floyd, then tell me, why are you coming forward? Why now? You could have spoken years ago. I'm not trying to be rude, but maybe you're hoping you can make a few accusations, get some coverage in the press, make a few bucks. Oh, no, no, no, that's not how it is. Okay. Then tell me how it is. This shakes his head and looks off into the distance. Listen, Travis, I'm taking a huge risk here. I could get sued and end up on the street. He could still find a way to win. He always does. Who's he? Who are you talking about? Chris. Who do you think? Talking about lands aren't strong. So you've dirt on lands? Of course I have dirt on lands. The two of us, we blood don't, okay? Tell me more. If you give me good information, I promise I'll do everything in my power to get justice. You know, drugs, they hurt the sport and they hurt athletes like you. Oh really? You care a lot about the athletes, huh? Yeah, actually I do. I do. I used to be a high school coach. I saw parents and other coaches push the kids so hard, so hard. A lot of those kids started doping and that's when I knew I had to do something. Landis looks down, his face full of pain. Well, I'm also trying to do something. Look I know I messed up. But now I want to make it right. Then we'll work together for a little. You trust me? I'll trust you. Now you say you blood doped with lands. So let's get the details. And then we'll go from there. Landis gazes out the window and stares at the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Then he turns back to Tiger and begins telling story after story. About all the years he used performance in hampting drugs alongside land's arms drawing and other cyclists. He talks about the coaches who encouraged doping and the culture of staying silent. And Landis describes the relentless pressure to win no matter the cost. Tiger is stunned. He's never met someone with such detailed and damaging evidence. And as Landis continues with his stories, Tiger has a dawning realization. This is much bigger than he could have possibly expected. Landis has revealed an entire system of lying, cheating and corruption in cycling. Tiger knows that he has no choice. He has to launch a full throw to the investigation into doping and cycling. It could be painful and the fallout could be ugly. And if Landis is telling the truth, the investigation could take down an American icon, Lance Armstrong. American scandal sponsored by Sachi Art. I'm lucky. 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Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts. From London, I'm Lindsey Graham, and this is American Scandal. By 2010, Lance Armstrong found himself under attack. Craig LaMonde, former cycling star, was intent on exposing Armstrong, revealing that he used performance enhancing drugs. LaMonde wasn't alone. The cyclist Floyd Landis was also driven to expose the truth. Landis was one of Armstrong's former teammates and won the 2006 Tour de France. But after he was charged with doping, Landis was stripped of his title and hit rock bottom. It was then he decided to come clean about Armstrong and the culture of drugs in professional cycling. These accusations came to a head when the US anti doping agency began a large investigation, one that would ultimately change Armstrong's career and the future of sports. This is episode four, coming clean. It's the morning of May 20, 2010 in Viserlia, California, and Lance Armstrong is sitting inside his team's bus. He's just a few blocks from the starting line of yet another long race. Armstrong knows he should leave the bus, go join his teammates, but he's not ready to go, not yet, because he can't stop staring at a headline in the Wall Street Journal. Armstrong rereads the article again as a feeling of dread begins to wash over him. According to the reporters, Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis just dropped a bombshell accusation. He's admitting that he used to dope, and he's claiming he wasn't alone. Landis says that doping is a widespread problem across cycling, and he's accused other riders of doing drugs, including Lance Armstrong. Armstrong looks up from the article and bites his lower lip. He's nearly 40 years old now, and far from the peak of his career. He thought these investigations were behind him, that he'd no longer have to worry about being exposed and having his legacy tarnished. He knows he's done so much for cycling and as an activist for cancer, but once again, someone from his past is trying to take him down. It's something he can't let happen. Suddenly, the bus door swings open, and Armstrong sees a clean cut man step inside. It's Johann Bruniel, Armstrong's coach. But even though he's supposed to be the one in command, right now Bruniel looks panicked. Oh, Lance, thank God you're still here. I know, I know, I should be out there with the guys, but I just need a minute. No, actually, you shouldn't be out there. There's a group of reporters and they want to talk to you. Ah, that's that right. Yeah, Lance, it's a mess, but don't worry, I can get you out of this. I'll tell them that you woke up with a backstrain and you can't race today. Then we'll get you to a hotel and you can stay there until this whole Floyd Land situation blows over. Johann, are you nuts? Do you have any idea how bad that would look? I don't care how it looks. Listen, Lance, I helped organize your whole doping program. If Landis brings you down, I'm going down too. So now we need to get out of here because you've given us no other choice. Oh, you think this is my fault? Let's get the facts straight. Landis wanted to ride on this team. He begged you. All you had to do was say, yes, just say yes. And then we wouldn't have this problem. You know I couldn't do that. Our sponsors wouldn't have stood for it. You wouldn't have stood for it. Well, there were always other options. God, arm strong rises from his seat and begins walking to the exit of the bus. Now I'm going to have to go out there and clean this up. Wait, you're talking to the press? Yeah, that's the plan. Lance, don't do it. That's insane. As your coach, I forbid you. Listen, Yon, you're new to this, but I'm not. So let me tell you what I'm going to say. I'm going to tell the reporters that Floyd Landis is a liar. I'll say he threatened me repeatedly. Guess what? They'll believe me because everyone has heard the rumors about his drinking and his depression. So just follow me. Look supportive. All right? Arm strong moves past Brunir and steps out of the bus where he finds a crowd of reporters. Arm strong looks out at them and smiles. He knows that in times like these, his standard playbook has never failed. The first step is to deny everything. Then relentlessly attack his accuser. It's an approach that worked before and Arm strong knows that it won't fail him this time. A week later, Floyd Landis hikes down a narrow road surrounded by woods. He's more than 5,000 feet above sea level in the hills of Idle Wild California. It's a small town in the mountains where Landis now lives. For Landis, these walks help him think about his life, the mistakes he's made, and what he needs to do next. But recently, he's been feeling good about his choices. After years of lying, he finally came clean and told the world that he used performance and dancing drugs. He's also been helping the US anti doping agency as it investigates the wider corruption inside professional cycling. There's steps in the right direction, but Landis is well aware that his problems are far from over. His cycling career is over and his bank account is empty. With the investigations ongoing, it's hard to move on with his life. And those investigations could take years. Landis had been feeling stuck. But that changed yesterday. Landis read an article online where a lawyer raised an intriguing idea. He suggested that Landis could be considered a whistleblower. With this status, he could actually sue Landis Armstrong on behalf of the government, and if he won, he could make some money. It seemed too good to be true, but Landis has to admit the possibility of a payout is appealing. So now, as Landis approaches his cabin, he has to figure out a plan. He could wait for all the investigations to blow over, or he could start another fight, and file a lawsuit against his former teammate, Lance Armstrong. Landis opens the door to his cabin and steps into the living room. It's much cleaner than it used to be. The pizza boxes are gone, and so are the cobwebs and beer cans. But as Landis looks around the small, dark space, he can't help but feel a sense of loss. He used to have so much. A big house, a wife, public admiration. He knows he can never get that old life back, but maybe Landis thinks. And he's not done yet. Landis picks up the phone and dials the number that he found for Paul Scott, the lawyer, from that article. Landis hears the ringing on the other line, and then Scott answers. He doesn't sound surprised at all to hear from Landis, and wants to know how he can help. Landis gets to the point. How is it he could actually sue Armstrong on behalf of the government? He's not a government employee, he's just a guy who rides a bike. He's got laughs and says it is a strange legal case, but what it all comes down to is sponsors. Landis and Landis Armstrong wrote together on a team that was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. And the Postal Service is part of the federal government. So if Armstrong doped, and if he lied about doping, then he violated his sponsorship contract with the Postal Service. And that means he defrauded the U.S. government. Landis gives a low whistle. He had no idea that Armstrong could be in such deep trouble. Scott continues, and explains that under federal law, Landis can sue Armstrong on behalf of the government. If the lawsuit is successful, Landis would get a cut of the settlement, which could be as high as $30 million. Landis feels his face grow flushed. He can't believe it, and he tells Scott he'd like to move forward with the lawsuit. He wants to get started right away. But Scott tells Landis to slow down. He needs to understand the situation. This isn't some get rich quick scheme. Armstrong will have a powerful legal team. They'll drag this out as long as possible, and Landis will have to pay legal fees, which could be huge. And while the chances of winning do appear strong, thereby no means guaranteed. So Scott asks, knowing all of these risks, is Landis truly ready to move forward? Landis hesitates. He does need the money. But there's something else to consider, something bigger than winning a settlement. Land's Armstrong is the one who convinced Landis to start doping. It's what ultimately destroyed him. And yet, even as his life spiraled out of control, Armstrong did nothing to help. Even though Landis had done his part and kept his mouth shut for years. So yes, a big settlement would be nice. But if Landis wins the lawsuit, he'll get something else. He'll get justice. Landis tells the lawyer his mind is set. He wants to move ahead with the lawsuit. It's time to take down Land's Armstrong. A few months later in Medina, Minnesota, Greg Lamond walks through his kitchen and grabs his phone. He dials the number for Floyd Landis and prepares to make an offer that could have ripple effects across professional cycling. Lamond is an icon of cycling. He won the Tour de France three times, which had made him the most decorated cyclist in American history until Land's Armstrong came along. Armstrong shattered Lamond's record and won the Tour de France seven consecutive times. Lamond had considered Armstrong to be a legend, but that changed when Lamond spoke with a reporter and discussed allegations that Armstrong doked. Armstrong called and threatened Lamond, and soon Lamond lost a lucrative endorsement deal with Trek, the bike manufacturer. The loss of the endorsement upended Lamond's life. Even though Lamond started fighting to get out the truth about Armstrong and Doping, he always remained on the sidelines. It seemed like no one could take down Land's. But Lamond can tell the times are turning. He's calling Floyd Landis today because he learned that Landis is suing Armstrong for defrauding the U.S. government, and Greg Lamond wants in on the action. Lamond paces around the kitchen, his phone pressed hotly up against his head, and finally, Floyd Landis answers the call. The two agreed each other and they agreed, it's been a while since they last spoke, and a lot has happened since. Lamond tells Landis he's happy that Landis has finally come clean. It was the right thing to do, admitting that he and Land's Armstrong both doked, that it's a big problem in cycling. But Lamond adds, he only wishes that Landis had spoken out a little earlier. Floyd Landis goes quite for a moment. Lamond knows he might have ruffled his feathers. They had a conversation years ago in which Lamond all but begged Landis to go public about doping, but Landis refused and continued to live a life of lies. Their conflict, it seems, was never resolved. On the phone, Landis tells Lamond, it was easy for you to say, you've already retired, had all your medals. He didn't have anything to worry about, but look what I had to deal with. Cycling changed. There was no way to win if you weren't doping. Landis admits that he did have his medals, but he lost his endorsements, and that was all because he spoke out against lands. He was alone in the fight, and he could have used the support from someone else. Landis sighs and asks if that's why Lamond is calling. Is this some sort of reprimand? Lamond apologizes, he didn't mean to come out swinging. It's been hard the last few years, and he lost income because of Landis Armstrong, while the rest of the cycling world stood around and did nothing. But he knows Floyd Landis is now in a tough place himself. Now he is the outcast. Lamond admits that while he used to be angry, he isn't anymore. He feels genuinely bad for Landis. He knows what it's like to wage a fight all on your own, and that's why he wants to help. Landis has calmed down, but is curious. What does Lamond mean? How could he possibly help? Lamond says he heard about the whistleblower lawsuit. He thinks he could change everything. And while he's lost a lot of money because of Landis, he isn't broke, not yet. And he still has a few high powered attorneys on call, and he wants to share them with Landis. He'll foot the bill. Lamond just wants to find some way to contribute. There are a few moments of silence before Landis thanks Lamond. And then he admits that he was right. That Landis should have come clean earlier. Lamond tells Landis its water under the bridge, you live, you learn. The important part now is that they work together. Because if they do this right, they could stop Landis Armstrong from hurting anyone else. And maybe they could finally clean up Cycling and save this sport. What if your family was the victim of a home invasion? Or you woke up in the morgue, or you were seriously injured miles from help? What would you do? This is actually happening. Ask our listeners this very question, while we bring you captivating real life stories of trauma and perseverance. This is actually happening, brings listeners extraordinary true stories from the people who lived them. You'll hear stories about conflict, turmoil, or threats that dramatically alter the course of someone's life. This episode is an exploration of the human spirit and how survivors manage to overcome hardship and move on with their lives, even thriving afterward. The new season of this is actually happening, is available ad free only with Wondry Plus. And if this new season isn't enough, you can listen to more than 120 exclusive episodes available only to Wondry Plus subscribers. Join Wondry Plus on Apple Podcasts or on the Wondry app. It's June 2011 at an upscale French restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. At the restaurant's bar, Lance Armstrong grabs a drink. He takes a sip and then sits back down with his girlfriend. Anna Hanson has a look of concern on her face. The quiet voice she mentions to Lance that this is Armstrong's fourth drink of the night. He usually doesn't have this much. Armstrong gazes at Hanson, who's perched beside him on a bar stool. She has flowing blonde hair and a beaming smile. She's gorgeous and he knows he's lucky to be with her. But right now, all he can feel is a dull rage bubbling up. There's no question that Armstrong is drinking more than usual. He has good reason to be drunk. Right now, he's under assault on multiple fronts. The US anti doping agency is investigating whether he used performance enhancing drugs. At the same time, Floyd Landis, his former teammate, launched a lawsuit against him. Landis is claiming that Armstrong and his former teammates defrauded the US government by doping and lying. The accusations are of course true. Armstrong did dope and he did lie. But he can't get caught. That would destroy him. So in response to all these allegations, Armstrong attempted to use his usual playbook of self defense and finger pointing. But it's not clear that the game has changed. His defenders in the media have gone quiet. And from what he can tell, the public is starting to turn on him. Armstrong feels he's in serious trouble. His back is against the wall. He could lose everything. His titles, his fans, his legacy. He could also lose an incredible amount of money. But as Armstrong sits at the bar and gazes at his girlfriend, he doesn't share any of these worries. He hasn't told her the truth about his doping. Instead, he tells Hanson that he's fine. He just needs to unwind and right at that moment, go to the bathroom. Hanson smiles as Armstrong stands up from the bar stool and walks to the men's room. He winds through the restaurant, feeling a little wobbly from the booze. But right as he reaches the bathroom, the door swings open. A man with high cheekbones and brown hair steps out, his eyes on the ground. And when he looks up, he and Armstrong stop and stare at each other. Armstrong can't believe who he's looking at. Of all people, it's an old teammate, Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton remains silent and looks nervous. Snow surprised why. Last month, Hamilton went on the television show 60 minutes and told the world that both he and Armstrong had doked. It was yet another assault on Armstrong's reputation, and Armstrong couldn't imagine what he'd do if he ever saw Hamilton again. Now his former teammate is standing right in front of him, looking petrified. He backs up, telling Armstrong he doesn't want any trouble. He's going to go back to the table, finish his dinner, and get out of there. Hamilton tries to scoot around Armstrong, but he's not fast enough. Armstrong springs forward and knocks into Hamilton's shoulder. He leans in and whispers a threat. He tells Hamilton that from now on, his lawyers are going to make Hamilton's life a living hell. Shaken, Hamilton steps back and nearly collides with the waiter, and he turns and hurries away back to his table. Armstrong stares him down. He feels strong and proud. But soon Armstrong's sense of dominance fades. It's replaced by a cold, biting fear. He may have scared Hamilton, but Hamilton is just one of many who could damage Armstrong. To race against time. Armstrong has to move quickly and silence all his enemies before it's too late. Nine months later in New York City, Travis Tigard walks through an office and picks up a folder. He heads over to a long table and takes a seat across from a tall and fit 33 year old. Tigard is the head of the US anti doping agency, and today he's meeting with David Zibriski, a professional cyclist who was one's team age with Lance Armstrong. The two race together on the US Postal Service team. Tigard watches as Zibriski picks up a glass of water with a trembling hand. He knows Zibriski must be scared. Tigard has been leading a full investigation of doping and cycling, and Zibriski probably doesn't want to talk. He's operated by a code of secrecy, and Zibriski is likely no different from the others. But it's been two years, and Tigard is on the verge of wrapping up his case. He knows he's close to having definitive proof that cyclists have been doping and lying about it. So, he'll take the approach that works best. He'll tread carefully and show some empathy. And slowly, he'll get Zibriski to open up. Tigard flips open his notebook and turns to Zibriski. Okay, Dave. First of all, and most important, how are you doing? Honestly, I'm pretty freaked out. Oh yeah, of course, I get it. You're probably wondering if it's even a good idea to talk to me. Yeah, I'm trying not to screw up my career. Well, look, Dave. I'll tell you some other guys who are freaked out. Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Frankie Andreou, and you know what? They all felt better after talking with us, and I think you will too. Yeah, but you don't know what I've been through. You know how big a risk I'm taking? Tigard sets down his pen and looks up at Zibriski. Well, Dave, you're right. And I've never made that sort of money. I've never had that sort of fame. But let me tell you something. I know what it's like to be on a team. Everyone's got to do their part, and everyone who's talked to me, they did their part. They took a risk. Because when you work together, you can accomplish a lot more, and I know you know that. Like, like taking on a whole culture of doping. Dave, we are close to the finish line. So close. But I need help. Zibriski sits quietly for a moment, then nods his head. Yeah. Fine. Okay, it's Armstrong. You know, he's already ruined my career. I don't have much left to lose, so yeah, let's do it. Well, wait. What do you mean he ruined your career? I mean, when I was a kid, cycling was everything. Everything. Things weren't good at home, so you know, it was like my escape. I'd ride 50, 60 miles every day. Eventually, I got good enough, and I went pro. And then I joined Lance's team. Yeah. And then. Zibriski can't finish the sentence. He clears his throat, wipes his nose. Oh, it's okay, Dave. Take your time. What happened after you joined Lance's team? Well, even before I started with Lance, I had heard stuff that there was a lot of dope in. Yeah, attitude was like, yeah, it's illegal, but you got to do it, you know? But I didn't. I didn't dope. No, why not? When I was growing up, my dad had a drug problem. Serious problem. So I promised myself I'd never, ever do drugs of any kind. And I kept that promise when I first got into cycling. You know, my feeling was, you know, I'd rather race clean and lose than race dirty and win, you know? Yeah, yeah. I admire that. Yeah, well, flash forward to 2003. I'm racing with Lance, and one day Coach Bruniel pulls me aside and says, we want you to do EPO, synthetic testosterone. They were like orders. I had to do it, because Lance was doing it too. So Bruniel handed me everything. Surinjas. Box full of testosterone patches. And if a drug test was coming up, I was told I could just inject a little sailing that it would make the EPO undetectable. Zabrisky shakes his head. His expression, pain. I didn't know what to do. You know, I was making good money. I didn't want to get kicked off the team. So I did what they told me to do. And I guess I broke my promise. Yeah. I don't think I'll ever forgive myself. Zabrisky falls quiet. Dave. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you. And I promise we're going to change things. Tiger shuts his notebook and leads Zabrisky out. The cyclist is shaken and battered with emotion. And Tiger has to admit that something about this interview has affected him too. There are so many ways that Lance Armstrong and his allies have ruined lives. They've inflicted so much pain and on so many people. And yet Armstrong seems to think he can just leave behind this trail of destruction, bike off into the sunset. Tiger knows Armstrong is mistaken because Tiger should now have enough to bring this investigation to a close. It won't be long before Lance Armstrong faces his day of reckoning. It's late August 2012 in Austin, Texas. Lance Armstrong is sitting in his living room with his face buried in his hands. Now 11.40 pm and for Armstrong the clock is ticking. In the next 20 minutes, he'll have to make the most consequential decision of his entire life. And he's still not sure what to do. Armstrong recently got a notice from the US anti doping agency, which said that they had concluded their investigation and found Armstrong guilty of doping. Now he has two options. He can accept their punishment and face a lifetime ban from cycling, or he can challenge the decision and go into arbitration proceedings. Armstrong knows that arbitration is a lost cause. The evidence against him is just too strong. And the fight would be a drawn out, expensive and very public humiliation. But Armstrong can't bear to accept the alternative with a lifetime ban on cycling and the implication that he was a cheater. Armstrong checks his watch. It's now 11.50. He has 10 minutes to notify the agency what he plans to do. And if he doesn't make a decision, then they'll make the choice for him. And that's something Armstrong can't accept either. So he picks up the phone and calls his lawyer. Time seems to slow down. Armstrong feels like he's floating outside his body. He hears himself tell his lawyer that yes, he'll accept the punishment. He won't fight the charges. Armstrong then hangs up the phone and closes his eyes. Like any pro cyclist, Armstrong has had a share of bad crashes. He's broken bones and had the flesh torn from his face. He had cancer spread throughout his body and he was stood the agony of chemotherapy. So much of his adult life has been filled with pain and suffering. But none of that compares to what he's feeling now. Crushing defeat. A feeling of complete isolation. Of total failure. For a few minutes, Armstrong just sits, but then he realizes something. Armstrong is the survivor. He always has been. And while he's just suffered a huge setback, millions of people still love him. He can go before the public and admit that he made some mistakes. He can ask for their forgiveness. And if they accept his apology, if the public is willing to acknowledge that people can be flawed, then this isn't the end for Lance Armstrong. And maybe he can get back on his bike and race once again. Its December 14, 2012 at an office in Denver, Colorado, and about four months since Lance Armstrong accepted a lifetime ban from cycling. Today Travis Tiger is planning to meet with Armstrong. He charges the head of the US anti doping agency. And he knows that Armstrong wants to have the length of his ban reduced. But with everything he learned from his investigation, Tiger has no interest in seeing Armstrong ever compete again. But Tiger also believes in the rules. And the official rules state that athletes can have a ban reduced by as much as 75% if they help expose other cheaters. So if Armstrong is ready to offer that kind of help, then Tiger is willing to cut a deal. The door to the office swings open and Armstrong enters. He's unshaven and his lawyers follow behind him. He takes a seat and before Tiger can say a word, Armstrong begins the conversation. Listen, we all know this is a bad situation. I'm an athlete. I was born to ride a bike. So let's work out a compromise so I can get back to racing. Well Lance, it's good to see you too. And thanks for stopping in today. That sounds like you want to talk business. So let's talk. If you want your ban reduced, you have to do a few things. One, you've got to come clean. Yeah, I know you've already accepted your ruling, but you haven't publicly admitted that you use performance enhancing drugs. So do that. And then two, tell us about other cyclists who are part of this. Then we can talk about bringing down your ban. No, no, no, I'm not a rat. Lance, come on, a rat. This isn't some movie about the mob. Well, then stop acting like it. Threatening me, ganging up on me, trying to hurt me. God, you should be ashamed of yourself. Oh, okay. Well, you know, if this is how it's going to go, I've got a busy day. So good luck with everything, Lance. Tiger moves to get up from the table. Stop, stop, stop, Travis, hold on. Look, I want this meeting to be constructive. So you want me to talk about doping and who else was doing it? Ah, sure. And maybe I can tell you a few things. Tiger sits back down. But if I do, here's the agreement. I want my ban reduced to one year. One year. No, that's out of the question. Well, how short can you make it? Lance, if you give us full cooperation, it'll be eight years. I'll be almost 50. Suddenly the color seems to drain from Armstrong's face. Hey, hey, look, Travis, don't do this. Let's be reasonable. You already took away my titles from the Tour de France. You took away my Olympic medal. I had to step down from my foundation. In one morning, I lost all my sponsors. You know what that cost me? $75 million. And one day, one day. Well, Lance, I'm sorry that you lost $75 million. But that's a lot more than most of us seen our lifetimes. I think you can survive. So give us your cooperation. And in eight years, you can enter as many races as you want. Armstrong shakes his head in bitter rage. And Tigard notices that his eyes have grown red and glossy. Suddenly Armstrong bolts up from his chair and leaves the office. His lawyer is hurried to catch up. Tigard leans back in his chair in size. He knows that throughout Armstrong's life, cycling and competitions have given him a sense of meaning. They gave him a reason to live. And now Tigard has taken that away for good. On some level, Tigard pities Armstrong. You can't imagine the pain he must be suffering right now. But Tigard doesn't have a single regret. Lance Armstrong and his allies had a corrosive effect on cycling. Armstrong thought he was about the rules. But Tigard knows that the soul of sports depends on fairness and honesty. Those are values worth fighting for. Because if the world starts to believe that sports are rigged, then something big will have been lost, something much bigger than an icon like Lance Armstrong. It's January 2013 in Austin, Texas. Lance Armstrong steps into the backyard of his mansion and looks out at the stunning property. The sun is shining and the swimming pool shimmers in the afternoon light. It's almost unbearable looking at this dream property. Because it's a reminder of everything that Armstrong ever earned for himself and everything that he now stands to lose. Armstrong's public reputation is in shambles. The legal fees are piling up. Everything seems to be slipping away. Armstrong now has only one hope. Soon he's going to go on TV and give an interview to Oprah Winfrey. He's going to come clean. The interview will probably be an international sensation, and Armstrong can only hope that his honesty will help turn things around. Armstrong is lost and thought. And he hears a back door slight open. Footsteps approach, and when he turns around, Armstrong sees his eldest son Luke walking toward him. Armstrong smiles. Luke is 13. A good kid, normally happy, but right now his face is cladded with worry. Luke seems to be having trouble making eye contact with Lance. Lance has some idea why. Something happened at school today. Luke got into some trouble. There was a kid at lunch who wouldn't leave him alone. Over and over he kept saying that Lance was a doper. Luke told the kid to stop that it was a lie, but the kid wouldn't shut up. So Luke hit him. He got in trouble, and now he has detention for a week. Here outside by the pool, Luke looks up at his father and asks if Lance is mad. But Lance shakes his head and says that while you can't go around hitting people, no, he isn't mad. It's not Luke's fault. Lance then reaches out a hand and lays it on Luke's shoulder. He tells Luke there's something they need to talk about. The two walk over to a table, and Luke gazes at his father with a scared and expectant look. Lance knows it's time to come clean and not just on TV. It's time to be honest with the people he cares about the most. So Lance tells his son that he wants to share something. His entire life he's been determined to win. It was like an addiction. Something was more important even if that meant breaking the rules or doing things he wasn't supposed to. Luke's eyes widen with recognition. Lance nods and tells Luke that it is true. He don't. He cheated. He lied. And he's sorry. Lance knows he's heard a lot of people, including his own family. What he did was not right. But now the only thing he can do is be honest. Luke's shoulders suddenly slump. The boy looks miserable. Lance can't stand it. He knows that his son looked up to him and that he just broke his heart. He's never seen someone full of such raw sadness and disappointment. But then Luke gets up, takes a step forward and wraps his arms around Lance. The two remain silent, holding each other, and Lance buries his face and his son. He squeezes Luke, holding as tight as he can. As Lance holds his son, slowly, almost imperceptibly, the pain and sorrow begin to drift away. He doesn't feel the sense of loss or shame, the fear that he's about to lose everything. Lance Armstrong feels something more simple and almost pure. He doesn't even have a name for it. But he wants to hold onto the feeling for as long as he possibly can. In January of 2013, Lance Armstrong went on television and confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he had used performance enhancing drugs. The interview drew about 28 million viewers, but ultimately it was viewed as a public relations mistake for Armstrong. Critics argued that Armstrong appeared cavalier and evasive and that Armstrong came off looking unsympathetic. Two years later, Armstrong gave another interview, this time to the BBC and was asked whether he would dope again. You know, if I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again. Because I don't think you have to do it again. If you take me back to 1995 when it was completely and totally pervasive, you probably do it again. Today Armstrong owns a bike shop in cafe in Austin, Texas. Greg Lamond remains an anti doping advocate and businessman. He currently oversees a line of bicycles named after him and he's the only American to have officially won the Tour de France since Armstrong and Floyd Landis had their titles revoked. In 2018, Floyd Landis's lawsuit against Lance Armstrong came to an end. Armstrong agreed to pay $5 million as an overall settlement with the federal government. After legal fees, Landis received $1.1 million. Lance Armstrong's downfall shed a bright light on doping in sports. Since then, doping controversies have erupted in everything from baseball to track and field to competitions like horse racing. Cheating may always remain a temptation for professional athletes. The drive to win is so strong and some that they will push boundaries, break rules and ruin lives in their pursuit of victory. But just as there are those who will cheat, there are others who continue to uphold the rules, believe in fair competition and know that talent, hard work and perseverance are the only ways to true victory. From wondering, this is episode 4 of 5 of Lance Armstrong from American Scandal. On the next episode, we're bringing a special interview about scandals in the music industry and our media's troubled relationship with celebrities. I'll speak with Jake Brennan, an expert on the topic and host of the podcast Disc Race Land. We'll talk about tragedies in the music industry and why the media may have blood on its hands. If you'd like to learn more about Lance Armstrong, we recommend the book Wheelman by Reid Albergati and Vanessa Oconnell. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details, and while in most cases we can't know exactly what was said, all our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal is hosted, edited and executed to produce by me Lindsey Graham for Airship. On your editing by Molly Bach, sound designed by Derek Barons, music by Lindsey Graham. This episode is written by Hannibal Diaz, edited by Christina Malsberger. Our senior producer is Gabe Riven, executive producers, our Stephanie Gens, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and her nonlopes for Wondry.