As Lance Armstrong comes clean to Oprah Winfrey about his days of doping, it is something of a bittersweet moment for ABC News correspondent Neal Karlinsky. Karlinsky has been following the Armstrong story longer than just about any other journalist in TV news, beginning in 2010 with an interview with Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis.
There is also personal element to it.
“I used to race competitively, I feel very passionately about the sport of cycling, I just love it,” Karlinsky tells TVNewser. “There was never any intersection between this — lets face it, obscure sport in the United States — and my career as a journalist. I never expected that intersection to be the one story that is pulling the sport down.”
Since the Landis interview, Karlinsky has been on the Armstrong beat for ABC, and along the way has spoken to dozens of sources close to Armstrong and his teammates. He says that he was not surprised the U.S. Anti Doping agency took action against the cyclist, but rather that it took so long.
“This story — in talking to sources on background since 2010 — has felt like it might explode with a huge development at any moment almost the entire time,” he said.
Karlinsky says that Armstrong genuinely wants to be able to compete competitively again, and that is one of the driving forces behind his decision to come clean.