Last night the first part of the much-hyped interview between Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey was aired and as we all knew, the cyclists finally admitted publicly that he doped throughout his career. By the time the interview was shown however that was pretty much an accepted fact and most of us were just waiting to hear what else Lance had to tell us. It was the content in the rest of the interview, and the second part that will air tonight, that was most important to many fans of both cycling and Armstrong himself.
Watching the former Tour de France champion answer Oprah’s pointed questions was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It was refreshing to hear Armstrong answer directly and honestly but we still got the same reserved, stoic man that we’ve all come to know over the years. As he has done so many times in the past, Lance kept his emotions in check and didn’t offer much of a glimpse of what was going on inside. If there was ever a moment to show his human side, it was now. I’m not sure we saw that, at least in the first part of the interview.
It was interesting to hear Armstrong fess up to his bullying tactics and offer a few mea culpas to some of his past behavior. While his systematic doping process is a major part of the story, the way he handled those who criticized him or spoke out on his alleged doping in years past, is another important aspect. Lance and his team trampled the lives of many people who dared to speak out against him, and some of those people have had a very hard time getting their lives back together. These confessions and apologies won’t help them reclaim years abuse and torment that they were forced to suffer by the Armstrong hype-machine.
But then again, the mending of old wounds has to start somewhere and Lance did start that process with this interview. He does want to see Livestrong continue on with its cancer-work and he has begun to reach out to those he steamrolled in an effort to open a dialog. Where he goes from here remains to be seen.
Obviously there is more to be revealed in the second part of the interview tonight, although I’m not sure what else will be talked about. Perhaps in this second segment we’ll see a softer, more remorseful side of Armstrong, which would go a long way towards repairing his status with the general public. What we got last night sparked as much outrage as it did acceptance and I’ve heard others saying that he is “arrogant” and “pompous,” words that have stuck with him over the years.
So? What did you think of the interview? Were you satisfied with what we got so far? What would you still like to hear from him as we move forward? Are you ready to forgive or are you a bit more cynical and feel he is doing this for his own gains?
I came away thinking that it was good to air out much of what was said, but that we were still looking at a man who is saying these things because he got caught. A man who is trying to rebuild his reputation and walk away with what little dignity he has left. Clearly Armstrong thrives on competition and attention, and part of this was to start the process that might allow him to step back onto the athletic stage once again and compete in more events. Only time will tell if he was successful in any of those pursuits.