Oprah: Armstrong was 'ready' to talk in 'intense' interview

10:21 AM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
Lance Armstrong/AP
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Oprah Winfrey, after taping an interview Monday with disgraced U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong, said Tuesday she got so much from her 2 1/2 hours that she plans to present it in two shows -- because he was ready to talk about using performance-enhancing drugs through his celebrated championship career.

"A couple of times he was emotional. 'Emotional' doesn't begin to describe the intensity or difficulty (for Armstrong) in talking about these things," Winfrey said Tuesday on CBS This Morning. "All these people wondering if he goes there and answers things ... I think you will come away, too, that he brought it. He really did."

In a few clips shown briefly from the interview done in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, Armstrong looked nervous. Winfrey and Armstrong sat simply in chairs, facing one another, glasses of water with straws sitting on a small table for each. As Armstrong enters the interview area, Winfrey gets up to greet him.

Winfrey, wearing a bright lime-colored dress Tuesday, spoke from the set of Harpo studios in Chicago to the CBS anchors in New York about what she considers her "biggest" interview.

She told CBS she got to ask most of her "112" questions. "I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected," Winfrey said. "It was surprising to me ... for myself, my team, all of us in the room, We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."

Winfrey said in addressing her questions, Armstrong answered "in a way (that showed) he was ready. ... I can only say I was satisfied by the answers."

Beyond that, she said she chooses not to "categorize" how Armstrong comes off: "I would rather people make their own decisions. I felt he was thoughtful, he was serious, that he certainly had prepared himself for this moment. I would say he met the moment. At the end of it, we both were pretty exhausted."

Why did she think Armstrong chose now to talk? "I just think the velocity of everything coming at him in the past couple of weeks, he was just ready."

Winfrey said she and Armstrong had agreed to terms of the interview that included what was said "would be left for people to make their own judgments about. And by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all already had confirmed it. ... So I'm sitting here now because it's already been confirmed."

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is aware of the Winfrey interview and said "if these reports are true" that Armstrong confessed, "We would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the independent commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI" in the recent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency decision on the cyclist and his former United States Postal Service team.

The UCI's independent panel looked into claims the sport federation covered up suspicious samples from Armstrong, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.

Most Watched Videos