Stepfather ‘beat the s***’ out of Lance
Lance Armstrong endured a more private and physical form of discipline long before he was punished by the US Anti-Doping Agency and in the court of public opinion.
In Sunday's first episode of the ESPN 30-for-30 "Lance", the 48-year-old Armstrong said his stepfather, Terry Armstrong, used to "beat the s*** out of me" with a fraternity paddle for minor transgressions like leaving his drawer open when he was a kid.
"I mean you talk about disciplinarian, if he said, 'Don't leave your drawer open or you're gonna be in trouble,' and sure enough I'd leave the drawer open, he'd pull out his fraternity paddle and just beat the s*** out of me," Armstrong said.
"If I did that, my kids would be getting spanked every minute of every day! Like, who cares? F***ing drawer's open."
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Armstrong's parents divorced when he was two years old and his mum, Linda, remarried Terry Armstrong a year later. Terry adopted Lance, who was born when Linda was 17, and took credit for shaping him into the man he became, for better or worse.
"I was tough on him as far as cleaning his room up and being orderly, and Linda was always there when I did it," Terry said in the documentary.
"It wasn't a belt, it wasn't hitting him. It was just, 'Bend over and take your licks.' That came from five years in military school. Very regimented, so I was kind of by the book. The failure of my bringing up Lance, I was the taskmaster, but I didn't put my arms around him enough and tell him I loved him. I was always there, always coaching him, always pushing him, but I didn't show him the love that I should have.
"Lance would not be the champion he is today without me, because I drove him. I drove him like an animal. That's the only thing I feel bad about. Did I make him too much 'win at all costs?'"
Armstrong said the men that his mum married "were not terrible," before correcting himself and saying, "Terry Armstrong might've been kind of terrible."
Growing up, Armstrong was a swimmer and then participated in triathlons, which he quickly became dominant at - though his cheating started early. He recalled using a forged birth certificate so he could compete illegally at the age of 15, when the minimum age for triathlons was 16.
Armstrong later left his home in Plano, Texas to pursue cycling, going on to win seven Tour de France titles - all of which were eventually stripped because of his involvement in a massive doping scandal.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Stepfather 'beat the s***' out of Lance