Scott Pelley on '60 Minutes' Lance Armstrong Expose: 'It Was a Painful Interview' (Video)

10:07 PM PST 05/22/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Tyler Hamilton, left, and Lance Armstrong

The cyclist's former teammate Tyler Hamilton alleged on the CBS News program that the cyclist used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times.

Scott Pelley's 60 Minutes interview with Tyler Hamilton about Lance Armstrong's alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs has made headlines for the past several days -- but Pelley says it wasn't an easy interview to do.

In the piece, which aired Sunday night, Hamilton alleged that he and his former teammate both used "EPO ... testosterone ... a blood transfusion" while competing. (Armstrong strongly denies the allegations.)

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But Pelley said getting the answers out of Hamilton was "like pulling teeth."

"It was a painful interview for him and a little bit painful for me as well," Pelley told 60 Minutes Overtime editor Ann Silvio.

Pelley said that whenever he asked Hamilton about the drug use, "he was reluctant to talk. He keeps looking up at the ceiling, looking down at his shoes, hesitating, pausing. It was just a very difficult thing for him to do."

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Why does Pelley think that was the case?

"He's essentially destroying his record that he worked so hard to achieve," Pelley said. "And he felt very badly about what he was doing to Armstrong."

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Pelley added that Hamilton also made a point several times throughout the interview to admit to his own guilt in using the drugs. 

"Every time he [pointed the finger at Armstrong], he always said something like, 'But that's what we all did,' or 'I did it with him, I did it too.' He didn't want it made out to be just Lance Armstrong who was the bad guy here, and I think that's one of the reasons the interview has so much credibility."

Pelley called Hamilton a "tragic figure" because the interview "destroys his record as one of the world's great cyclists."

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He added that he doesn't take pleasure in having been the one who reported the expose.

"There is no joy in this for any of us who have worked on this story -- quite the opposite," Pelley said. "But if the sport -- if all of sports -- are going to be cleaned up, then these kinds of investigations need to be done."

 

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