Betsy Andreu is the new, heroic face of the Lance Armstrong scandal: a woman who refused to let the now-disgraced cyclist ruin her family despite Armstrong’s calculating attempts.
In the wake of the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey — Part 1 aired Thursday night while the conclusion airs tonight — one woman, Betsy Andreu, is at the center of the media firestorm around Armstrong’s doping confessions.
So who is Betsy Andreu? If you’re following the Lance Armstrong doping confession, you’ve no doubt seen Andreu on countless media outlets; she was most recently a featured panelist on Anderson Cooper 360 last night, and this morning talked to Good Morning America. Andreu is one of the more captivating individuals to emerge from the shadows of Armstrong’s shady past for simply one reason: she never stopped telling the truth.
Sports Illustrated columnist Austin Murphy commented in his article yesterday, titled, “Betsy Andreu always knew that Lance Armstrong doped,” that Andreu would continually reach out to Sports Illustrated to correct Murphy’s often “fawning” attitude over Armstrong. Writes Murphy, “At a time when a fawning media competed to compose paeans to Lance Armstrong (for years, I was at the forefront of that too-credulous crowd), she struck a discordant note. If we were enterprising enough to search for it, she told us, we would find that there was more to Armstrong’s story than met the eye.”
One of my favorite anecdotes Murphy writes about Betsy Andreu was her quick-witted comment about Lance Armstrong’s heroic reputation. “I think your yellow [Livestrong] bracelet is cutting off the supply of oxygen to your brain,” she said in an email to Murphy.
During Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah on Thursday night, Betsy Andreu came up as one of the first people to proclaim that Armstrong doped, and that his career was a lie. Oprah mentions that Andreu overheard Armstrong tell his doctor he used several banned substances while receiving treatment for testicular cancer. That’s how close Betsy Andreu was to Lance Armstrong: she was in the hospital with him, supporting him, during his near-fatal cancer battle.
Betsy Andreu’s relationship with Lance Armstrong shows what a chilling person Armstrong really is: a true phony. Betsy Andreu is married to Frankie Andreu, who rode with Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France. Frankie admitted in 2006 to blood doping and later testified he witnessed Armstrong dope on several occasions beginning in 1996. Betsy Andreu also testified under oath about what she saw and heard in the hospital.
The testimony was later released to the public and Armstrong went on the offensive — calling Betsy Andreu crazy and utilizing his power and influence to ruin her husband’s cycling career. In sum: he attempted to destroy the lives of Betsy and Frankie Andreu, two of his closest, dearest friends, simply for telling the truth. Several years later, Lance Armstrong doesn’t even seem to really care beyond intellectually recognizing the idea he might have caused Betsy and Frankie Andreu a lot of pain.
Andreu spoke with Sports Illustrated earlier this week. “Let’s just say he acknowledged the hurt he caused us. I prefer to keep the rest of it private… Frankie was one of the best friends Lance could’ve had. I, in turn, became his friend. And he tried to destroy us, and threw us away.”
Now, Betsy Andreu is just hitting her stride. Andreu and her family suffered for years at the hands of Armstrong with public smear campaigns and character assassinations. This is Betsy’s chance to finally expose Lance Armstrong’s true character, and she isn’t wasting any more time waiting for the right moment. Viewers who tuned in to Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah were likely surprised and how cold — and perhaps even mentally unstable — Armstrong appeared. He rather blankly acknowledged that his actions toward Betsy Andreu and her family were wrong, but lacked any emotion or human connection to his past behavior.
We commend Betsy Andreu for never giving up hope and never allowing Lance Armstrong to bully her into silence. Andreu will be featured again on Anderson Cooper 360 immediately following the worldwide exclusive broadcast of the conclusion to the Lance Armstrong interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter.
Watch Betsy Andreu discuss the Lance Armstrong interview on Good Morning America below: