Retired star U.S. Cyclist Lance Armstrong has appeared on American television to admit using performance-enhancing drugs in all seven of his Tour de France victories from 1999 through 2005.
The 41-year-old cancer survivor, who has repeatedly denied doping accusations, told interviewer Oprah Winfrey that he could not have won the seven titles without the banned substances. The interview was taped on Monday.
Armstrong opened the interview by answering a series of “yes” or “no” questions, saying he used testosterone, cortisone, blood transfusions and human growth hormone to boost his chances of winning the prestigious races. He said all “fault and blame” for the scandal that nearly wrecked international cycling competition “falls on me.”
Late Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee asked Armstrong to the return the bronze medal he won in the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Armstrong was stripped of his record seven consecutive Tour de France victories last year when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced it had proof of his involvement in a complex illegal doping program.
On Monday, Armstrong apologized for the scandal in an emotional visit to the staff of his cancer charity Livestrong. Witnesses say Armstrong fought back tears as he spoke, but that he did not discuss specifics of the allegations against him.
Also this week, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told Reuters Armstrong's confession could jeopardize cycling in future Olympic games.
Pound said such action could be taken if it can be proven that the International Cycling Union (UCI) acted improperly in the Armstrong case.
The chief of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, has said the UCI, cycling's governing body, wrongfully accepted a $100,000 gift from Armstrong. Pound, a Canadian, suggested that could be seen as a cover-up of Armstrong's illegal drug use.