Less than 24 hours after conducting a 2.5-hour interview in Austin, Texas with Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey appeared on the CBS "This Morning" program today where she confirmed that the now-former Tour de France champion admitted to doping.
The revelations were supposed to await until the airing of the interview at a 9pm EST broadcast on Thursday evening during the Oprah's Next Chapter program on her eponymous Oprah Winfrey Network, but the speed of leaks from her exclusive interview with Armstrong caught her off guard.
"By the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago you all had already confirmed it," Winfrey said on This Morning. "So I'm like, 'how did you all do that?' We all agreed that we weren't going to say anything. So I'm sitting here now because it had already been confirmed."
Winfrey related that she prepared meticulously for the Armstrong interview "like it was a college exam" and came armed with 112 questions, most of which were answered during the interview.
"I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered and certainly answered...I can only say I was satisfied by the answers," said Winfrey. "I would say that he did not come clean in the manner that I expected. It was surprising to me. I would say that myself, my team and all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."
Originally slated for a single 90-minute program to air Thursday evening, Winfrey announced that the broadcast of the interview would be extended to a second show the following evening, also beginning at 9pm EST.
When asked why Armstrong decided this would be a good time to admit to doping, Winfrey couldn't provide a concrete answer. "I asked that question and I'm not sure I still have the answer, why do it now. I think the velocity of everything that's come at him in the past several months, and particularly the past several weeks, he was just ready.
"I thought that he was thoughtful, I thought that he was serious and I would say that he met the moment."
The interview with Oprah Winfrey will be the first public commentary made by Armstrong following the United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into doping activities by the Texan and his US Postal Service team. Following the release of USADA's Reasoned Decision in October, 2012, Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, banned for life from all sports adhering to the WADA code, and now faces multiple lawsuits stemming from the doping revelations.