Lance Armstrong: Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Part 1

In Life Lessons, Sports on January 18, 2013 at 12:20 am

Lance Armstrong - Oprah Winfrey Interview - Part 1

After several years of living a lie and doing whatever it took to perpetuate the lie, Lance Armstrong finally admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he is guilty of doping and using performance-enhancing drugs throughout the peak years of his career.

Quite frankly, the details of the admission were not at all surprising.  The only surprising element was that Armstrong finally came clean after all these years.  If part 1 of the 2-part interview is any indication, this confession seems to be self-serving, and not the mea culpa that many had hoped to witness.

The truth of the matter is that most people don’t care too much about the doping and performance-enhancing drugs that Armstrong used to help propel him to the top of the cycling world.  Until Armstrong started dominating the Tour de France with regularity, most Americans didn’t pay any attention to the sport.  His cycling dominance combined with his testicular cancer battle made him a compelling media story.  If there is one thing that Americans love, it is a story about someone beating the odds, especially when it comes to sports.  Is there a sports fan out there who wasn’t totally inspired by the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team winning the gold medal?  Who among us can watch the movie Rudy and not get choked up, and perhaps even shed a tear?

Lance Armstrong made America stand up and take notice of a sport that very few Americans cared about.  If not for the fact that he destroyed innocent peoples’ lives while trying to perpetuate his lie, most people would have already forgiven him for cheating.  After all, the sport of cycling is rife with competitors doing the exact same thing.  If we as a society can appreciate Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire shattering Major League Baseball’s long-standing home run record, we can certainly accept someone cheating to win a bike race that most people ignore anyway.

If Armstrong didn’t make it his mission to destroy those who could expose him, all of the good that he has done for cancer support with his Livestrong charity would have allowed most people to dismiss his transgressions as nothing more than business as usual for people who participate in a sport filled with corruption.

By the time that part 1 of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah aired, the whole world already knew that he was going to admit to cheating.   What people wanted to see was remorse for trampling over anyone who got in his way or threatened to expose him.  But the remorse that he showed was lukewarm at best.

Armstrong admitted to being a control freak and a bully.  He admitted that he was wrong, and refused to point fingers at others or give names of others who cheated.  He confessed that he has always gone into attack-mode against those who have threatened his way of life, even when he was growing up.

Armstrong said that he was “deeply flawed” and “a jerk” and that he would go back in time and do things differently if he could.  He acknowledged that he had ruthless desire to win at all costs and that he was an “arrogant prick.”  And though his admissions and regret are what people wanted to hear, the bottom line is that Armstrong’s delivery and body language left you with the feeling that he is still an “arrogant prick.”

When Oprah pressed him on the damage that he caused in the lives of Frankie and Betsy Andreu, Armstrong couldn’t bring himself to say that they were telling the truth because there was at least one element of the story that he vehemently denies…calling Betsy “fat.”  However, he didn’t deny calling her a “crazy bitch.”  And though he recently had a 40-minute conversation with the Andreus, Armstrong said that his relationship with the couple has not been mended because they were too badly hurt by him.

Ultimately, part 1 of the interview with Oprah did very little, if anything, to redeem Armstrong in the eyes of those who were looking for a changed man filled with remorse for the way that he treated people close to him.

While he admitted to cheating, he also seemed to justify it as simply being part of a level playing field with other cheaters.  More importantly, Armstrong’s refusal to admit that the Andreus were telling the truth about him because of some minor inconsistencies in their story shows that he is not really willing to do what it takes to earn back the trust of the people that he hurt, unless of course, it is on his terms…just like it has always been.

Lance Armstrong Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Part 2

  1. […] national reaction to part 1 of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was largely negative.  At no time during the […]

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