The Lance Armstrong interview taken by Oprah, the interview she says is the biggest of her career, is fascinating for a variety of reasons.
While, given for how much time Armstrong has lied, the amount he has lied, no one can really take any thing he takes without truckloads of salt. Once past this though, it becomes a study of character and personality. Armstrong says at the end of the interview that he would have gotten away had he not made his come back. That he was caught, and had no where to run, finally made him admit to his flaws. Lot’s of people are analyzing why he did the interview. Was it as part of some strategy, was it for money? I think it was the last attempt at scraping for whatever dignity he could scrape. He could scrape nothing.
Which brings me to the second amazing aspect. He keeps speaking during the interview. Possibly, he talked a lot of truth. However, he couldn’t get even a bit of compassion from any one. Armstrong remarks once during the interview that he talked with Betsy Andreu, the wife of one of the co-captain of Team Postal along with Armstrong, for 40 minutes but that is not going to repair the damage done. That holds good for Armstrong every where.
Armstrong sued and destroyed people financially for just telling the truth (See Betsy Andreu’s angry reaction here). There was a clip where Armstrong talks about the great sport cycling is after he won the 7th of 7 straight Tour De France. Oprah asks, what Armstrong is trying to do there. It is important to realize Armstrong not only sold a lie for a day. He sold it for his life. He wrote books, and inspired people, gave them hope.
The faith in Armstrong is shattered. The sport of cycling is tainted forever. There was the whole culture of doping in cycling in that era. All the winners and those who came second and third for a decade and more in cycling are in the list of who’s who of doping in the sport.
However, Armstrong stands out. He was the one who drew people to cycling, much like Tiger Woods did people to golf, or Michael Jordan did a few years before that, people to Basketball. These icons have a responsibility and how they carry that can often make or break the deep impact a sport is able to make apart from among the aficionados.
Cycling today appears completely clean. However, it doesn’t have the fandom or aura about it it once had. Not many will watch the Tour de France this year. It is a busy time for sport in the summer, with Wimbledon and test cricket. I will though. It is time for new beginnings as far as cycling is concerned. How these first steps are, can determine the rest.
Bye bye idolistic bullshit, hello cycling.