While the world waits to hear what Lance Armstrong actually said to Oprah Winfrey in an interview to be aired starting on Thursday, Australia’s government wouldn’t mind having the money they paid out to the cyclist returned to them.
Oprah has already said that it was intense but will leave it up to viewers to decide if the American is contrite or not.
If Armstrong, who conquered the sport of cycling, has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs as has been reported by media, then the Tour Down Under wants its money back.
The American raced in the event in South Australia from 2009 to 2011, and according to media in the country, received millions of dollars.
There could be a long wait. The International Cycling Association has told Armstrong to return the money that he has won while cheating. It remains to be seen if there is any chance of that happening.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill admitted that there was no legal recourse in which the state could get the money back but is hoping that the Texan, 41, will do so anyway. A first step would be an admission of guilt.
"I'd be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," he told reporters and added that if it turns out to be true that the American was not playing fair, "many South Australians will feel they were deceived by him."
For years, there were rumors and allegations that Armstrong was using performance-enhancing drugs but the denials were constant and fierce. He became one of the biggest stars in the world of sport. Due to his triumphs, cycling received a huge boost in exposure and interest around the world.
The present scandal is hugely damaging. An admission of guilt from the most famous cyclist of them all could be a turning point in the sport cleaning itself up or it could, in the minds of many, confirm that the sport is something of a lost cause
The New York Times reports that Armstrong will admit doping but is not going to stop there. Sources say that he is ready to testify against others in the sport, including officials from the International Cycling Union, in regard to their involvement in doping.
Again, it could be a turning point in the sport, or something that finally tears it all apart as one disgraced champion fights a desperate rearguard action.
More will be revealed on Oprah. Just how much remains to be seen. This is a story set to run and run.