Armstrong to answer doping charges on TV

Armstrong Livestrong Future Cycling Disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong will discuss the charge that he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs with Oprah Winfrey on TV.

Armstrong follows other controversial figures, including Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson, in using the famous chat show to make public statements.

According to the New York Times, it is possible that he will admit to doping in order to have the future opportunity to resume competitive sport.

Lance Armstrong became the world’s most famous cyclist, winning the Tour de France seven times – six times more than the UK’s Bradley Wiggins.

However, the wheels came off his career in August 2012 when the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) published a 1000-page report stating that he had used banned drugs to enhance his performance.

The 41-year-old cyclist was stripped of his Tour de France titles and subjected to a lifetime ban from competitive sport.

The regulatory framework around performance-enhancing drugs is unique in medicine, where the improvement of outcomes is normally desired.

Athletes have been stripped of Olympic medals for taking cough medicine – which is arguably a denial of their right to health.

If he admits to the doping charges, Armstrong might be allowed to resume his sporting career. He is rumoured to have marathon and triathlon ambitions.

According to Usada, Armstrong’s cycling career was “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme” ever exposed in sport.

The report triggered a bizarre exchange of accusations, with Armstrong claiming the agency paid “corrupt inducements” to his sporting rivals and Usada claiming that Armstrong offered it an unacceptable $25,000 donation.

Behind this complex professional scandal, an important question remains: do people in sport have the same right to medicines as the rest of us?