AUSTIN, Texas (CBS Houston/AP) — Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong compares himself to former President Bill Clinton and believes he will be forgiven.
In an interview with Texas Monthly, Armstrong called Clinton a hero of his and compared his apology for taking performance enhancing drugs to the one the former president gave for having an affair with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“Ultimately, people forgive and forget and remember the good stuff you did,” Armstrong told Texas Monthly. “Is it hard to do? Yeah. But Clinton did it. He loves to work, he loves people, he loves to hustle.”
Armstrong continued: “He’s a hero of mine. He’s a tough guy, he’s smart, surrounded himself with good people. And 10 years later, he’s president of the world. It can be done.”
Armstrong was ripped publicly for his interview with Oprah Winfrey in January where he admitted to cheating his way to win seven Tour de France titles.
“It’s been a bloodbath,” Armstrong told the publication. “But we expected that. You gotta put that stake in the ground and say, ‘Okay, we’re turning it around.’ That had to happen first.”
Armstrong added that the stain of cheating and lying about it for so many years will live forever.
“The stain’s not going away—my girls will grow into it. My two little ones will grow into it,” Armstrong said. “This stain will live forever. I’ll never get rid of it. I’ll just try and do the best for my family, my community, my constituency—whatever that may be.”
Armstrong – who was stripped of his Tour de France titles – stepped down last October from The Livestrong Foundation he founded, saying he didn’t want his association to damage the foundation’s ability to raise money and continue its advocacy programs on behalf of people with cancer.
The cyclist created the organization — originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation — in Austin, Texas, in 1997 while he was being treated for testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. Doctors gave him 50-50 odds of surviving.
He told Winfrey that leaving Livestrong was the most “humbling” experience after the revelations about his drug use broke.
“I wouldn’t at all say forced out, told to leave,” he told Winfrey about Livestrong. “I was aware of the pressure. But it hurt like hell.
“That was the lowest,” Armstrong said. “The lowest.”
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