The former Tour de France icon said he did not think there was anything wrong with what he was doing at the time he did it -- something he today finds "scary." That he didn't feel guilty was in retrospect "even scarier."
That he did not think it was cheating is the "scariest" part. "I viewed it as a level playing field," he said, where most everybody doped.
Armstrong also does not believe he could have won cycling's most prestigious race seven times in a row without performance enhancing drugs. And his success was not synonymous with contentment.
"That wasn't the happiest time of my life," Armstrong said of his championship years. He told Winfrey he felt happier giving her his confession.
But his doping and bullying years also weren't the worst in his life, he said. The time of his cancer diagnosis was worse.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Armstrong would like to compete again but has no interest in returning to the Tour de France. He'd like to be able to run in the Chicago Marathon when he's 50, but the punishment he's been slapped with won't allow it.
"I can't run the Austin 10K," he said. "Anything that is sanctioned" by an official governing body is ruled out.
"This may not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it (being allowed to compete), maybe not right now," Armstrong said. A six-month suspension is customary for doping he said, but he received a "death penalty."
Now that he has been caught and has confessed, lawsuits he won could be reviewed, and his victims could come after him, tearing away at his fortune.
But the nadir, Armstrong says, was his departure from his cancer awareness charity Livestrong, which distributed the iconic plastic yellow bracelets.
It happened in two phone calls.
They first asked him to resign as chairman of the board.
The second call was less to the point. "We need you to consider stepping down for yourself," Armstrong said he was told.
He got out of the way and hopes the charity, which was built on his debunked fairy tale legacy, can carry on without him.
"It hurt like hell," Armstrong said. "That was the lowest."
Armstrong's golden halo in the sport's annals has decayed to a black mark. No other cyclist was awarded the victories he was disqualified from.
In place of a record seven wins by Lance Armstrong, the chronicles of the Tour de France bear seven record vacancies.
No one won.