Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has not only spent years vehemently denying using banned performance-enhancing drugs; he also has viciously attacked those who told what they knew about doping in the sport and implicated him in the process.
In what could now be seen as supreme hypocrisy – or a new definition of “chutzpah” – Armstrong even sued agencies that accused him of doping – in some cases accusing those agencies of libel.
Here is a look back at a dozen quotes that highlight how far – or, some say, how low – Armstrong has been willing to go.
“Desperate for attention and money”
Fellow cyclist Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. He ultimately came forward and spoke about other cyclists, saying he wanted to “clear my conscience.”
“Armstrong and his camp hit back swiftly, forcefully and with a smooth coordination that comes from years of practice,” Sports Illustrated reported.
Last year, in a lawsuit calling for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to drop charges against Armstrong, Armstrong’s attorneys described Landis as “desperate for attention and money.” Landis was acting against Armstrong “with his cycling career, finances, and personal life in shambles,” the attorneys argued.
There has long been no love lost between the two men. Sports Illustrated reported in 2010 that Landis predicted Armstrong “is going to jail.”
“I’m going to make your life a living… f—ing… hell,” Armstrong allegedly said
Another former fellow cyclist-turned-enemy, Tyler Hamilton, cooperated with federal authorities and testified about Armstrong. He also spoke with CBS’ “60 Minutes.” Soon after, Armstrong and Hamilton bumped into each other at a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado.
Precisely what happened is disputed. Hamilton said that as he was leaving the bathroom, Armstrong blocked his path. “He wanted to get into it,” Hamilton later told Outside Online.
Armstrong has said he asked Hamilton “what’s up” and that the encounter “was certainly awkward for both of us. It was truly uneventful.”
“Obsession” with “getting” me
Armstrong has accused Travis Tygart, head of USADA of carrying out an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”
The lawsuit Armstrong’s camp filed last year against USADA named Tygart personally as a defendant, saying he had “a well-publicized obsession with ‘getting’ Mr. Armstrong. Defendant Tygart evidently believes that USADA needs to bring a big case against a ‘big fish’ to justify its existence.”
In a recent interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Tygart alleged Armstrong was personally involved in intimidating other riders into keeping quiet about doping.
Tygart also said he personally received anonymous threats. He did not say those threats came from Armstrong. They came as e-mails and letters, Tygart said. The worst was a threat to put “a bullet in my head.”
“You know enough to bring me down,” Armstrong allegedly told masseuse
Another player in the drama that led to Armstrong’s downfall is Emma O’Reilly, who was once a masseuse and personal assistant to Armstrong and his cycling team.
She spoke out in a 2003 book “L.A. Confidentiel,” published in French and subsequently translated into English, and later spoke to USADA for its investigation.
She said she was in the room when Armstrong and two other team officials came up with a plan to backdate a prescription for corticosteroids to explain a positive steroid test result during the 1999 Tour de France.
“Now, Emma, you know enough to bring me down,” she says Armstrong told her after that meeting.
She also said she took clandestine trips to pick up and drop off what she assumed were doping products, and that she bought Armstrong makeup to help conceal a bruise from a syringe injection. But she said she did not personally see Armstrong use banned substances.
O’Reilly has said Armstrong trashed her after she spoke out publicly.
There are far more cases of Armstrong lashing out against those who crossed his path, such as journalist David Walsh, author of “L.A. Confidentiel – Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong.”
But let’s turn to some of the former cycling legend’s past claims about his record and where the alleged “witch hunt” came from.
“He’s trying to back up his old lady.”
Among those who crossed Armstrong’s path was fellow cyclist Frankie Andreu. He and his wife, Betsy, were once among Armstrong’s closest friends. The two say they were with Armstrong when he told a doctor he had taken performance-enhancing substances, including EPO, testosterone, cortisone, growth hormone and steroids. The Andreus testified about the incident under oath.
Armstrong, in a videotaped deposition, said he had never made such remarks. As for Frankie Andreu, Armstrong said, “I feel for him,” adding, “I think he’s trying to back up his old lady.”
Sports Illustrated reported that Armstrong disparaged Betsy Andreu’s testimony for years, “telling SI in 2007 that Andreu was motivated by ‘bitterness, jealousy and hatred’ and claiming to The Guardian (a British publication) a year later, ‘Betsy blogs 24 hours a day about me. If that ain’t sick, what is?’”
Betsy Andreu said she had to go on “a quest to clear my name because I never, ever, ever lied about anything.”
500-600 drug tests…
Armstrong and his representatives have cited this figure repeatedly.
“Throughout his 20-plus year professional career, Mr. Armstrong has been subjected to 500 to 600 drug tests,” one of the lawsuits his attorneys filed read.
But records show that he apparently has not had nearly that many, the USADA report said.
The USADA itself tested Armstrong fewer than 60 times, and the International Cycling Union tested him about 215 times, the USADA report said.
… and “not a single positive test”
The other half of that often repeated claim from Armstrong and his camp has obviously carried more weight: that there was not “a single positive test.”
“Six samples that were taken from Lance Armstrong were retested in ‘05 and they were positive,” USADA head Tygart recently told “60 Minutes.”
The tests were originally taken in 1999, before there was a test for EPO, he said. When new tests were conducted in 2005, “all six were flaming positive,” he said.
Also, as part of its investigation, USADA had test results from 38 blood samples, taken between 2009 and 2011, analyzed. The analyst found that samples taken during the 2009 and 2010 tours showed blood values whose likelihood “of occurring naturally was less than one in a million,” and other indications of blood doping,” the New York Times noted. USADA also outlined methods Armstrong and others used to circumvent the system, the Times reported.
“I’m doing it to fund the fight against doping”
A classic Armstrongism, captured on video at a deposition.
Armstrong was being asked about a $25,000 personal check he wrote to the International Cycling Union, cycling’s governing body. He also pledged a further $100,000.
“For an athlete to be paying money to the people who police him is – it’s unconscionable,” Dr. Michael Ashenden of the organization Science and Industry Against Blood Doping said in the documentary from Australian TV aired on CNN.
It’s about international relations
In a 2005 interview, CNN’s Larry King asked Armstrong for his thoughts on why he was being investigated. The two had discussed journalists and officials in France who were making allegations that Armstrong had doped.
“You know, we could look at a lot of things. If we consider the landscape between Americans and the French right now, obviously relations are strained,” Armstrong responded.
“But this has been going on for seven years … they started with scandalous headlines and a lot of insinuation and a lot of slimy journalism.”
“I can’t lie”
Now, it speaks for itself.
“I’m sorry for you”
In one of many outbursts against those who dared to question the facade he presented to the world, Armstrong had this to say to “the cynics and the skeptics: ‘I’m sorry for you. I’m sorry you can’t dream big and I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles,’” Australia’s ABC TV network reported in the program “The World According to Lance.”
People’s faith in me “would be erased”
This one seems largely true.
Buried right in the middle of yet another claim that he would never dope, Armstrong said something that proved unintentionally prophetic.
“It’s also about the faith that people have put in me over the years,” he once said. “All of that would be erased.”
The question now is just how much of Armstrong’s legacy is erased – and how much he gets a chance to rewrite.