Livestrong board member: ‘Devastated’ by Armstrong’s guilt

WASHINGTON – After years of denying “doping” allegations, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstong reportedly admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during an interview on Jan. 14 with Oprah Winfrey.

Armstong’s confession included an apology to friends and colleagues, as well as an in-person apology to the staff at the Livestrong cancer charity he founded in 1997.

Mark McKinnon, a board member for Livestrong, was shocked that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.

“I absolutely was a believer until I read the Tyler Hamilton book, and that was a devastating experience for me,” McKinnon told WTOP on Tuesday. “I’m devastated by all of it, and I think Lance has got to crawl over a lot of broken glass with apologies to all of those people, and I think he’s got a long list, including me.”

McKinnon, a political advisor who became involved in the foundation eight years ago after his wife almost died from cancer, says he never suspected Armstrong was using substances for cycling.

“I’ve been at the foundation for years and have spent a lot of time with (Armstrong),” McKinnon says. “I heard Lance say that under any circumstances, as a cancer survivor, he wouldn’t put anything in his body. I certainly understood that, seeing what my wife went through.”

For now, McKinnon’s focus is on trying to make sure the foundation continues with its work.

“Obviously we’re concerned at the foundation about the impact this is going to have on the good work we’ve been doing,” McKinnon says. “The one title they can’t take away from Lance is cancer survivorship.”

McKinnon plans to watch Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey. He says that if his confession and apologies are heartfelt and sincere, he thinks there’s still a lot of work Armstrong can do in cancer.

Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey is scheduled to air Thursday, Jan. 17.

WTOP’s Rachel Nania contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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