Livestrong 'Disappointed' By Lance Armstrong, But Still Grateful To Him : The Two-Way The cancer charity the cyclist helped found says it is disheartening to hear, finally, Armstrong say that he misled everyone about the doping he now admits. But it also thanks him for the "drive, devotion and spirit he brought to serving cancer patients."
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Livestrong 'Disappointed' By Lance Armstrong, But Still Grateful To Him

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Livestrong 'Disappointed' By Lance Armstrong, But Still Grateful To Him

Livestrong 'Disappointed' By Lance Armstrong, But Still Grateful To Him

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Last night, a confession that surprised few finally came.


OPRAH WINFREY: Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


HOST: That's Lance Armstrong with Oprah Winfrey during the primetime special. Armstrong admitted that the allegations he aggressively fought against for over a decade were true. The now-disgraced, seven-time Tour de France winner acknowledged that he has both disappointed and angered many, many people.


ARMSTRONG: And they have every right to feel betrayed and it's my fault. And, you know, I have - I will spend the rest of my life, you know, some people will go on forever. But I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people for the rest of my life.

HOST: Some of those people are on the staff of Livestrong. That's the cancer foundation started by Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer. Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman joins us once again. And first, I'm curious, do you feel betrayed?

DOUG ULMAN: You know, Robert, I am at a place now where, as hard as it was to watch last night and as hard as it was to see Lance come to the foundation earlier this week, I'm at a place where I have accepted his apology to the team here. And in order for us to further our mission and continue to move forward, that was a necessary step.


But you seem to face a problem here. The foundation obviously benefited from the very positive image of Lance Armstrong some years ago. Now that that image is, to put it mildly, tarnished and quite negative, doesn't that have consequences for the foundation as well?

ULMAN: Well, you know, as you well know, we as an organization have been sort of operating with this cloud, so to speak, for several years. You know, Lance obviously founded the organization. And his story, his cancer journey, resonated with millions of people. And the Livestrong Foundation and Livestrong Movement is now at a point where it is moved beyond any one individual, and it's about literally millions of people who, unfortunately, are facing or have faced this illness themselves.

SIEGEL: Just this week, the Major League Soccer franchise in Kansas City, Sporting Kansas City, ended its contract with you, removing the name Livestrong from its stadium. That suggests the team believe that the taint of this scandal outweighs the good that would be associated with it. Are you concerned that they're not the only people who hold that belief now?

ULMAN: Well, obviously, given the attention, you know, I think there will be some who question the relationship with the organization. I mean, we have to be realistic about the challenges that we will face. And yet at the same time, this week, we had a recommitment from our great partners at Nike. And so on the surface there might be some negative news or connotations. Ultimately, I think, there's a lot of opportunity ahead.

SIEGEL: You spoke with my colleague, Melissa Block, on this program back in October. And you said that in all your time running the foundation, you never asked Armstrong whether he took performance-enhancing drugs. Do you now regret never having asked him that?

ULMAN: You know, I don't know, Robert. I thought a lot about that, and that's a difficult question. But I didn't come to Austin, Texas, or to this organization because of cycling. I'm not a cyclist. But it just didn't have a bearing on the day-to-day work of the organization until more recently.

SIEGEL: But didn't it have a bearing on it in the sense that if much of this was true that was being said about him, that Livestrong - Armstrong and, perhaps, Livestrong with it were riding for a fall and that there could be disastrous consequences for the institution?

ULMAN: You know, I think that was raised on occasion externally. But we operate at such a start-up environment, and we were growing so fast, and we were pursuing so many opportunities, and we were just busy fulfilling our mission. And it just didn't cross my mind that that was something that truly impacted the work of the organization.

SIEGEL: As you know, there's another night of Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong. First of all, are you going to watch and are you concerned that there might be still more cause for upset, anger, or a sense of betrayal in what you hear?

ULMAN: Well, I'll definitely watch because it's important to me and to the organization. And I think it's going to take a while for people of all walks of life to process this. But ultimately, come Tuesday, this foundation is going to be, again, 100 percent focused on fulfilling our mission of serving those with cancer.

SIEGEL: Mr. Ulman, thanks a lot for talking with us today.

ULMAN: Thank you so much.

SIEGEL: That's Doug Ulman, the CEO of Livestrong, the foundation created by Lance Armstrong, speaking with us about Armstrong's admissions to Oprah Winfrey this week.



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