Before Lance Armstrong was punished by the Anti-Doping Agency, he endured a private and physical form of discipline while growing up as a kid.

In the first episode of “Lance,” ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary on the world-famous cyclist, the now 48-year-old said his stepfather, Terry Armstrong, used to “beat the sh-- out of me” with a fraternity paddle for mistakes like leaving his drawer open.

“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--t out of me,” Armstrong recalled. “If I did that, my kids would be getting spanked every minute of every day! Like, who cares? F--king drawer’s open.”

When Armstrong was two years old, his parents divorced; his mother married Terry Armstrong a year later. He adopted Lance 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 Armstrong 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,” Terry Armstrong added. “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?’”