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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Bills fan who fell from third deck banned from stadium 11.20.13 at 7:32 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Knicks, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: N.C. Central at N.C. State, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Lehigh at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami (Ohio) at Xavier, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Wichita State at Tulsa, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Iowa State at BYU, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Boston College at Harvard, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)


‘€¢ The fan who fell from the third deck at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium during Sunday’s Bills-Jets game has been banned from the stadium and might face assault and reckless endangerment charges for his behavior.

Robert Hopkins was sliding down the railing when he lost his balance and tumbled backward about 25 feet to the level below, landing on another fan. Both men were treated and released from an area hospital.

“The irresponsible behavior that occurred at [Sunday’s] game by the fan who fell from the upper deck is a violation of our Fan Code of Conduct and cannot, and will not, be tolerated,” team president and CEO Russ Brandon said in a statement. “This individual will not be permitted back into Ralph Wilson Stadium.”

Added Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz: “[Sunday’s] reckless and dangerous incident at Ralph Wilson Stadium is an example of the type of behavior that gives Buffalo a bad reputation and that can never be tolerated, dismissed or accepted. By his actions, this individual has shown that he is a danger to himself and others, and we fully support barring him from future events at the stadium.”

Hopkins also apparently lost his job, as the advertising and public relations agency Eric Mower and Associates released a statement indicating the 28-year-old “is no longer employed by EMA.”

The Buffalo News notes that at least 39 spectators have fallen at stadiums in the last decade, with 10 of them suffering fatal injuries.

‘€¢ Browns lineman Jason Pinkston said he and his teammates are “lucky to be alive” following the team’s plane ride home from Sunday’s game in Cincinnati. Flying in heavy rain and 50 mph winds — team executives considered taking a bus home but decided the short flight would be safe — the team endured a turbulent flight that had a rough landing in which a gust of wind caused the left side of the plane to tilt before the pilot recovered it.

“There were a bunch of screams,” Pinkston said. “You could hear everyone screaming on the plane. It was pretty real. I screamed, because I was sitting right over [left] wing. My window was open and I saw the whole thing.”

Added Pinkston: “It was terrifying. It was the real thing. The weather was so bad. We were coming in to land and [the pilot] had to go kind of fast to balance it out and we came down and hit on two wheels. The [left] wing was literally three feet from hitting the ground.

“We’re actually pretty lucky to be alive right now, to be honest. We really escaped one. We got away with one [Sunday] night.”

‘€¢ The former head of the International Cycling Union denied Lance Armstrong‘s claim that he helped engineer a coverup of the cyclist’s doping during the 1999 Tour de France.

Armstrong, in an interview with a British newspaper earlier this week, said Hein Verbruggen had Armstrong cleared after a positive test for a corticosteroid by having it appear that he had been prescribed some medication containing the drug, in an attempts to save face for a sport that was struggling to regain its footing following a doping controversy.

Verbruggen dismissed Armstrong’s accusation, writing in a message to a Netherlands television network: “Since when do people believe Lance Armstrong?”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Nov. 20, 1958, which Red Sox player was named American League MVP?

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Read More: Jason Pinkston, Lance Armstrong,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Fenway-bound Yankees lose another player to injury in win over Orioles 09.13.13 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Indians at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Blue Jays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
College football: Air Force at Boise State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: Real Salt Lake at Seattle, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘€¢ The Yankees beat the Orioles, 6-5, on Thursday night when they scored the winning run on a ninth-inning wild pitch (sound familiar, Red Sox fans?), but the injuries continue to mount for the Bronx Bombers.

Two days after the team put Derek Jeter on the disabled list, signaling the end of his season, there is concern in New York that outfielder Brett Gardner might be lost for the remainder of the campaign as well. Gardner was lifted from Thursday’s game after straining his left oblique while checking his swing on a strikeout in the first inning.

Gardner is scheduled for an MRI in New York on Friday, before the Yankees open a three-game series at Fenway Park. The Yankees, 9½ games behind the Sox, could be mathematically eliminated from contention for the division title by the end of the weekend, but they are just one game behind the Rays for the second wild card spot.

Gardner, who leads the team with 33 doubles, 10 triples and 24 stolen bases while playing more games than any Yankee except Robinson Cano, is hoping he’ll be able to contribute to the stretch run but acknowledges there is a possibility he might have to be shut down.

“I know we don’t have much time left,” he said, via the New York Post. “We’re trying to fight and get in the playoffs. I haven’t looked too far ahead into that, but I guess it could be a possibility. Hopefully we get good news [Friday].”

‘€¢ Bobby Valentine apparently was not satisfied with embarrassing himself once on the 12th anniversary of 9/11 when he claimed that the Yankees were AWOL as New York attempted to heal from the terrorist attacks. Valentine, who was manager of the Mets at the time, said his team was jealous that the Yankees were getting more credit for less community involvement.

Despite rebuttals from the Yankees and media accounts proving him to be incorrect, Valentine continued to hold firm Thursday, telling Erik Kuselias of the NBC Radio Network: “All I remember is people asking for the Yankees and me making excuses for them not being there.”

Yankees president Randy Levine had dismissed Valentine’s initial accusation and listed some of the sites the players visited, but Valentine said he wants more proof.

“There weren’t any Yankees out there,” Valentine insisted. “If there were, Mr. Levine can come up with a photograph.”

‘€¢ Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong returned his Olympic bronze medal Thursday, after having his third-place finish vacated by the International Olympic Committee because of his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong tweeted a photo of the medal along with a message that it was in the possession of the U.S. Olympic Committee. A USOC spokesman confirmed its return.

Armstrong won the medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney for road time trial. It came two months after he won his second of seven Tour de France titles.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 13, 1982, which pitcher began his memorable stint with the Red Sox when made his major league debut and took the loss in a 3-1 setback vs. the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We have to evaluate and try to get it right. It just doesn’€™t magically come together. You have to work hard at it and you have to concentrate. All of us have to do a better job at that.” – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, after the offense struggled badly in a 13-10 victory over the Jets

STAT OF THE DAY: 46 — David Ortiz‘s rank all-time on Major League Baseball’s career home run list, as he hit his 428th in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Rays to move past Mike Piazza

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): New Senators forward Bobby Ryan interviews fans in Ottawa without being recognized.

Louisiana Tech kicker Kyle Fischer banks in a field goal off both uprights during Thursday’s loss to Tulane.

From a high school football game in Kansas, Eli Renoux of Andover High has an impressive 65-yard punt return for a touchdown against Campus.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears was born on this day in 1941.

Read More: bobby valentine, Brett Gardner, Lance Armstrong, Randy Levine
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James fouls out in Heat’s Game 4 loss to Pacers 05.29.13 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Cubs, 2:10 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Mets at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Belgium, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


‘™¦ Heat star LeBron James fouled out in the final minute of Tuesday’s 99-92 loss to the Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals that evened the series. It was just the fifth disqualification of his career (with the previous one coming last postseason against the Celtics). Not surprisingly, James expressed displeasure with some of the call that went against him.

“I believe I was straight up and down on Paul George‘s drive, on the and-one,” he said. “They reversed a call with [Roy] Hibbert, called a foul on me on that one. And at the end of the third they called a push-off on David West.

“It was a couple of calls that I didn’t feel like were fouls, personal fouls on me. That’s how the game goes sometimes.”

On James’ final foul call, with the Heat trailing by four points and 56 seconds remaining, he stuck out his leg trying to set a pick to free up Dwyane Wade and tripped Lance Stephenson as Wade dribbled the ball the other direction.

“I was going to set a screen and I felt like I was stationary — and D-Wade rejected the pick and roll,” James said. “Lance actually ran into me.”

James and his teammates will get no sympathy from Pacers fans, who at one point Tuesday chanted, “Beat the floppers.”

‘™¦ Ten members of Congress — including co-chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus Tom Cole (Oklahoma) and Betty McCollum (Minnesota) — became the latest public figures to call for the Redskins to change their name. The representatives announced Tuesday that they have sent letters to team owner Dan Snyder, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the other 31 NFL teams and FedEx (a Redskins sponsor) noting that the name is offensive to many Native Americans.

“In this day and age, it is imperative that you uphold your moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs,” the letter read.

The name is facing a legal challenge from a group that seeks to have the team lose its trademark protection. Snyder has said he will not change the name.

‘™¦ Nike announced Tuesday that it is ending production of Livestrong apparel and gear after this year, after helping to raise about $100 million over the partnership with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong‘s charity.

“We expected changes like this,” Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane said, referring to Armstrong’s admission in January that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs after years of denial. “Could there be fallout? Of course. We remain enormously confident. ‘€¦ We are in strong fiscal shape.”

Armstrong, who founded Livestrong in 1997 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, stepped down from the board in October.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 29, 1984, the Red Sox held their first official number retirement ceremony, honoring two men: Ted Williams (No. 9) and who else?

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Read More: Dwyane Wade, Lance Armstrong, LeBron James, Livestrong
Michael McCann on D&C: Lance Armstrong ‘could lose all’ of his fortune 03.07.13 at 10:30 am ET
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Sports Illustrated legal analyst and writer Michael McCann talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning about his recent three-hour meeting with Lance Armstrong.

McCann flew to Austin, Texas, to meet Armstrong at his home and discuss the ongoing legal situations facing the former cyclist who had his record seven Tour De France titles stripped.

“I think [he wanted to meet] just to talk about his life,” McCann said. “I’m a different voice. I’m somebody who doesn’t work for him. I’m somebody who he knows about his career and that he could talk to me and I agreed that it would be mostly off the record, and because of that I felt that he could trust me in that regard. He also, I think, expected that I would be able to write about him in a way that wasn’t slanted against him. But he also knew that because my job is really to be as fair as possible, I will criticize him, and I think my piece reflects that.”

McCann initially came into contact with Armstrong when Armstrong started following him on Twitter. McCann eventually suggested meeting with Armstrong, but not without some hesitation.

“I was concerned about a couple of things,” McCann said. “One is that this whole thing was a hoax. Manti Te’o, all of that. I was going to fly down there and it was going to be no one, or somebody saying ‘We’ve got you.’ … I thought, look, if that’s true, so what? People go on business trips all the time and don’t get business. In that regard, going down to Austin for a flight and coming back isn’t the end of the world. So I didn’t think that was such a big deal.

“But I was worried that this was going to be some type of PR vehicle to express his views about everything. But I wasn’t as worried about that as the conversation went on because I did ask him some questions that I think that were relatively tough. Some of his answers were believable, others I think have to be checked out.”

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Read More: Lance Armstrong, Michael McCann,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o most disliked athletes in national poll 02.07.13 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Lakers at Celtics, 8 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Bulls at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (WGN, TNT)
College basketball: Clemson at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Indiana at Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Old Dominion at Drexel, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Belmont at Murray State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Missouri at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Colorado at Oregon, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Mary’s at Santa Clara, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Capitals at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)


‘™¦ According to a Neilsen/E-poll survey sponsored by Forbes magazine, Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o are America’s most disliked athletes.

Both Armstrong and Te’o appeal to just 15 percent of the public.

“The Oprah [Winfrey] interview hurt [Armstrong],” Nielsen senior vice president of sports Stephen Master said. “He came off as pompous, arrogant and unapologetic.”

As for Te’o, “The story was just so creepy,” Master said.

Rounding out the list are golfer Tiger Woods (19 percent appeal), Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (21), Lakers guard Metta World Peace (21), Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (22), Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (23), NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (27), Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (27) and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (27).

‘™¦ In a strange story out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a top running back recruit abruptly canceled his signing day announcement at his high school Wednesday, reportedly because his mother took his letter of intent and went home, unhappy that he wanted to attend Arkansas.

Andrea McDonald wanted her son, Alex Collins, to stay closer to home and sign with Miami, and she refused to sign the papers. Collins announced in a TV appearance on Monday night that he was going to Arkansas, changing his earlier stance.

Said Collins’ older brother, Johnny: “She’s having anxiety. I know she preferred him to go to UM. Alex had said he was going to the U, and then all of a sudden he changes his mind. We found out he was going to Arkansas on TV.

“They still needed her signature. You can’t sign yourself over. It’s in black and white. But I didn’t expect any of this to happen. I’m as confused as everyone else.”

‘™¦ The 1865 Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card discovered by a Maine man at a yard sale was auctioned Wednesday for $92,000. The Library of Congress said last month that it has the only other known copy of the team photograph, considered to be the first dated baseball card.

Neither the seller or buyer were identified, but Saco River Auction Co. manager/auctioneer Troy Thibodeau expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

“We’re happy with it and consigner is happy with it,” Thibodeau said.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 7, 1999, which Patriots defensive player was named co-MVP of the Pro Bowl after helping the AFC to a 23-10 victory?

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Read More: Alex Collins, Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o, Tiger Woods
Report: Lance Armstrong under federal investigation for witness tampering 02.06.13 at 8:51 am ET
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Federal investigators are conducting an active criminal investigation of Lance Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation, ABC News reported.

Last year, the U.S. attorney for Southern California unexpectedly dropped a two-year investigation of Armstrong for crimes reportedly including drug distribution, fraud and conspiracy. At the time, sources said that agents had recommended an indictment of Armstrong and were unsure of why the case was dropped.

According to the ABC report, the federal investigators’ concern now is not Armstrong’s drug use, but his alleged efforts to conceal that drug use by threatening and interfering with potential witnesses.

Armstrong confessed to lying and using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey. To end his lifetime ban from competition, though, he would have to confess under oath before investigators by Feb. 6.

Read More: Lance Armstrong, Rumor Mill,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Emotionless Lance Armstrong admits being ‘flawed character’ 01.18.13 at 8:06 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Thunder at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Stony Brook at Vermont, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Fairfield at Iona, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Harvard at Yale, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating, but he did it on his terms. Showing little to no emotion or contrition and offering few details, the cycling legend acknowledged during his interview with Oprah Winfrey that he cheated in all seven of his victories at the Tour de France.

“I’m a flawed character,” Armstrong said.

However, Armstrong insisted his taking performance-enhancing drugs and doping only put him on par with other cyclists.

“I went and looked up the definition of cheat,” he said. “And the definition is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe. I didn’t view it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”

As for all the people — especially former teammates and support crew — he attacked when they tried to tell the truth, Armstrong offered no public apology, although he said he has reached out to some of his victims. He attributed his behavior to his competitiveness.

“It’s a major flaw, and it’s a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome. And it’s inexcusable,” Armstrong said. “And when I say there are people who will hear this and never forgive me, I understand that. I do. … That defiance, that attitude, that arrogance, you cannot deny it.”

‘™¦ Notre Dame star Manti Te’o said in Wednesday night’s statement that he’s focused on the NFL draft, but the girlfriend hoax that was revealed this week might turn out to be a problem for prospective clubs.

“I think some teams will say it isn’t worth the problem,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who has Te’o rated 19th overall following the linebacker’s disappointing performance in the national championship game.

“I don’t think anybody considered him to be a top-five pick before all this happened,” Brandt said. “In that game against Alabama, this was like a guy who was the best shooter in the world in basketball and here comes a game and he can’t even hit the backboard. His play in that game was absolutely horrible. He missed on run blitzes; guys ran over him …”

Meanwhile, a minor league baseball team in Kentucky, the Florence Freedom, announced that it would have a Manti Te’o Girlfriend Bobblehead Day in May. The first 1,000 fans will receive an empty bobble head box, there will be a pretend kiss cam for fans to kiss their imaginary friends, and there will be an imaginary food fight in the kids’ area.

‘™¦ Al Pacino has been been tabbed to play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State coach that’s based on Joe Posnanski‘s recent biography. Brian De Palma, who directed Pacino in “Scarface” and “Carlito’s Way,” will direct the film, tentatively titled “Paterno.”

“I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” producer Edward R. Pressman said in a statement.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 18, 1973, the Red Sox signed their first designated hitter, with the position set to debut that season. Which veteran was obtained to fill that role?

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Read More: Al Pacino, Brian De Palma, Joe Paterno, Lance Armstrong
IOC asks Lance Armstrong to return 2000 bronze medal 01.17.13 at 11:30 am ET
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Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics because of doping. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent a letter to Armstrong on Wednesday night asking him to return the medal.

The IOC previously discussed revoking the medal in December but waited until cycling’s governing body notified Armstrong he had been stripped of his seven Tour De France titles. Following that action, he had 21 days to appeal the decision. The 21 days passed, so the IOC decided to take the medal away.

“Having had confirmation from UCI [International Cycling Union] that Armstrong has not appealed the decision to disqualify him from Sydney, we have written to him to ask for the return of the bronze medal,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. “We have also written to [U.S. Olympic Committee] to inform them of the decision.”

The first part of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which he confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs, is scheduled to be televised Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Read More: Lance Armstrong, Rumor Mill,
WADA: Lance Armstrong must confess under oath for ban to be reconsidered 01.16.13 at 10:43 am ET
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Although his public confession to Oprah Winfrey will air this week, Lance Armstrong can’€™t hope to have his lifetime ban from competition lifted unless he confesses under oath to doping, according to anti-doping officials.

‘€œHe’s got to follow a certain course,’€ David Howman, director general of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), told The Associated Press. ‘€œThat is not talking to a talk show host.’€

There has been speculation that Armstrong indeed intends to cooperate with the agency and name other cyclists who used performance-enhancing drugs to help his own case. By all accounts, Armstrong was the ringleader of a vast network of doping in cycling, and thereby could be instrumental in beginning to clean up the sport.

‘€œLance knows everything that happened,’€ said Frankie Andreu, one of his former teammates. ‘€œHe’s the one who knows who did what because he was the ringleader. It’s up to him how much he wants to expose.’€

Armstrong retired from cycling in 2011 but could still compete in triathlons if the ban were lifted. He’s been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and lost most of his endorsements over the last year.

Armstrong’s confession to Winfrey will air on her OWN network on Thursday and Friday. Beyond that, he will need to cooperate with the anti-doping agencies and present evidence of his claims to move toward an end to his ban. The International Cycling Union also has encouraged Armstrong to testify before an independent commission it has set up to investigate claims that, among other things, it helped Armstrong avoid failing doping tests.

Read More: Lance Armstrong, Rumor Mill,
Oprah Winfrey confirms Lance Armstrong’s confession 01.15.13 at 11:34 am ET
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Oprah Winfrey appeared on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday and confirmed that Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during their interview on Monday.

“Emotional doesn’t begin to describe the intensity or difficulty [for Armstrong] in talking about these things,” Winfrey said.

Added Winfrey: “I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected. It was surprising to me … for myself, for my team, all of us in the room. We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”

Armstrong, once considered a heroic, inspirational seven-time Tour De France winner, now generally is viewed as a disgraceful cheater, and his seven Tour de France championships have been stripped.

Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke said that Armstrong “robbed people of their dreams.”

Just a few short hours before meeting with Winfrey, Armstrong apologized for the long-time controversy to about 100 members of Livestrong, the charity that he founded in 1997 that helps cancer patients and their families. Livestrong spokesman Katherine McLane described Armstrong’s speech as “heartfelt and sincere.”

One of the first people to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs was the wife of his former teammate Frankie Andreu. Betsy Andreu said of Armstrong’s confession: “He used to be one of my husband’s best friends, and because [Frankie] wouldn’t go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side. Lance could have had a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He’s got to be completely honest.”

Winfrey’s interview with Armstrong is scheduled to be televised in two parts, beginning on Thursday night and concluding on Friday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

Read More: Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey,