The lowest moment for Lance Armstrong? It wasn't the loss his seven Tour de France titles. It wasn't the flight of his sponsors -- and their money. It was, he told Oprah Winfrey, the loss of Livestrong.
Armstrong told Winfrey that the nadir of his precipitous fall from grace was the moment when he had to cut ties with Livestrong, a charity he founded in 1997 to raise funds to fight cancer to support those battling the illness.
"None of my kids have said, 'Dad, you're out.' None of my friends have said, 'Hey, Lance, you're out.' The foundation is like my sixth child," Armstrong explained in a moment coming early in the second installment of the interview with Winfrey. "And to make that decision and to step aside was ... that was big."
While the first installment of Winfrey's two-part interview with Armstrong focused on his confession to doping during his cycling career, the second part detailed the fallout. Following the publication of a 1,000-page report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October 2012, Armstrong was formally stripped of his Tour de France titles, banned from elite competition and lost sponsors like Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Trek.
During the most emotional segment of the lengthy interview, Armstrong detailed the moment when he told his 13-year-old son, Luke, to stop defending him against those who insisted he had doped.
"I said, 'Listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I've always denied that and I've always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That's probably why you trusted me on it.' Which makes it even sicker," Armstrong told Winfrey, as he appeared on the verge of tears. "And I said, 'I want you to know that it's true.'"
Needing to a take a pause to collect himself as he detailed his confession to the oldest of his five children, Armstrong went on to explain how he told Luke to stop defending him. After years of denying doping and defending his reputation and his brand, this lengthy interview with Winfrey marked a massive reversal for Armstrong.
"This is not a good time but it isn't the worst part of my life," Armstrong told Winfrey toward the conclusion of the interview, referring to his battle with testicular cancer. "You can't compare this to the diagnosis, an advanced diagnosis and 50/50 odds or whatever the odd are. That sets the bar. It's close. But I'm an optimist and I like to forward. This has caused me to look back."
Looking forward, it remains unclear how this confession will help or hurt Armstrong. While his coming clean may help him regain some goodwill it could also lead to legal entanglements with those seeking to recover money from him in the wake of the USADA report and his confession.
"If he thinks this interview would help him get credibility back, I think this is too little, too late," IOC vice president Thomas Bach told The Associated Press. "It's a first step in the right direction, but no more."
Asked by Winfrey if he was perhaps taking steps toward redemption or a comeback, Armstrong was unsure.
"I do not know the outcome here. And I'm getting comfortable with that. That would have driven me crazy in the past. And I'm getting there. I've got to get even more there. I don't know. I'm deeply sorry for what I did. I can say that thousands of times and it may never be enough to get back."