16 January 2013

The Interview

He is attempting to reset his image

Lance Armstrong, featuring Oprah Winfrey in a planned orchestrated pre-taped interview

Will you watch the Lance Armstrong confession interview with Oprah? It is after all scheduled during prime time entertainment hour on TV. Which I am grateful for because most of Europe, and the world, will be asleep and will not have to endure seeing how gullible Americans can be. Still I am curious. I only wish the interview had been in front of a live audience and the TV screen could show a graph similar to our presidential debates with viewer reactions of sad and pitiful / somewhat believable / total BS / LIAR.

Where to watch the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong: The interview is now spread over 2 NIGHTS, Thursday 17 January and Friday 18 January. Tune in on your OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network, find OWN on your TV) Channel or watch the interview on Oprah.com Live stream at 7pm MST (9pm-10:30 ET/PT). 

In addition, Discovery Communications (owner of OWN) will make the Internet stream available to Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon, and DishNetwork, which will offer access to it on their websites. I signed in to find 'watch live TV online' in the right column. Also rebroadcast on the radio at Oprah's XM (111) and Sirius (204) radio stations. The interview is not truly live, the broadcast is live, the interview was taped last Monday.

In the UK the interview may be seen on Discovery Channel UK on Friday 2AM & 8PM (Sky520 Virgin212)

What we have learned 

Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs
We already knew this, but now we get to hear his side of the story. Keep in mind that truth usually comes in degrees after a long lie, so we will learn more in the future beyond this 2-part interview. Video: A discussion about Lance Armstrong's doping confession

Lance Armstrong was not the best endurance athlete ever
If we've learned anything it is that an unremarkable athlete is made more remarkable by drugs (a talented athlete made outstanding), and that there is no fairness in cheating or doping. The only leveler is truth. Time to kill off the myth that Armstrong was an exceptional athlete.

Livestrong.org is not cancer research
Don't refer to Livestrong as cancer research when Livestrong.org is patient advocacy and support. "The LIVESTRONG Foundation unites, inspires and empowers people affected by cancer." See Where the Money goes at Livestrong.org. Livestrong.com is a for profit website. The Livestrong Cancer Research Center was not started until April 2012, odd timing. Outside Magazine wrote an enlightening piece on the Livestrong Foundation It's not about the Lab Rats.

Armstrong is carefully targeting his audience for forgiveness
Remember when the Inner Ring blog informed us, "Do you know who the biggest watchers of bike races are in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland? The over-60s. And the second largest component of the audience? Women aged 35-55." Do you know that the Oprah Winfrey Network's favored audience is women age 25-54. Lance Armstrong chose Oprah not only because they both have places to stay (Oprah has a home) in Hawaii and she is kind, but because her audience might likely also be kind and forgiving. If he was serious about making right from wrong he would have privately walked into Travis Tygart's office to confess.

He will race again
Ok this just scares me, so I'd rather ignore this truth. 

Lance Armstrong will continue to manipulate

You never know how narcissists with power will react or behave because they just don't think like the rest of us. That is why I really don't know what will be in this interview. I do know he has master-minded this event just like every other. People are always ready to forgive, but Lance Armstrong's legacy might indeed be to teach us what we will not tolerate in sports. Forgiveness or not, he has changed the sport of cycling for the worse. (status with IOC)

Don't be fooled, he intends to change your mind about him

Redirecting image is a far cry from a moral confession. Lance Armstrong is not a changed man, nor is he a living example of trying to do right. There is another motivation for his recent tactics and that is what I am waiting to see discovered. Sure Armstrong laid low for awhile, but you can bet every recent news leak, every meeting or sudden appearance was planned and calculated to either test the waters or lead us, the poor unknowing ready to forgive folks, down the path Armstrong wants us to walk.


"You don't hold the keys to my redemption," he (Armstrong) said, according to the person familiar with the meeting. "There's one person who holds the keys to my redemption," he went on, pointing at himself, "and that's me."" These words were spoken as recently as last month to Travis Tygart at a meeting between Armstrong and Tygart in Denver, Colorado, as reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal (Behind Lance Armstrong's Decision to Talk). Armstrong had requested the meeting to gauge if Tygart would be willing to reduce his life-long band of competing in Olympic sanctioned sports. The meeting didn't go so well.

I believe we have been fed leaks through the media with the intent to lesson the blow, to test public opinion, to soften the real news when released. As my brother said, "it's as if they formed focus groups and tested the effectiveness of statements or scenarios." What do the people want to hear, what will it take so that we will again admire Lance Armstrong and return his power?

Lance Armstrong needs our admiration and he needs the freedom to continue his pursuit of anything he wants. I believe he is solely interested in himself. Surely there are plenty of triathlons he could race, evidenced by the number of Triathlon events last year willing to dump the USAT backing to allow Armstrong to compete (and increase entrance numbers and thereby money). Armstrong could have taken his millions and built another parallel Ironman series and competed in his own races. Are a few triathlon competitions worth the millions he will surely pay in legal suits and fees?

Watch for manipulation

A decent person with integrity does not go around saying what a good person they are, they don't need to, their behavior speaks for itself. Armstrong has had some terrible behavior in the past 15 years. A decent person also does not bring others down with him, they stand on their own failed heap and take responsibility. Don't believe Armstrong if he attempts to tell us that everyone doped, that all pro sports are corrupt, that he followed his teammates, managers, and doctors. Don't believe him when he talks of the good he did, how his competitors would say he deserved to win the Tour de France. He cheated, he harmed, he repeatedly lied. (Video compilation of Lance lying).

Good tough men can win without being a loser

Please remind yourself prior to and during the interview that Armstrong has sued, mocked, intimidated, harassed, coerced, bribed, bullied, and lied to not only a select few, but to all of us. Everyone. Over and over again. Sure he carried some people along, those who took advantage of their connection to Armstrong to promote their coaching, nutrition drink, books, photographs, apparel, bikes, or health causes. He also inspired individuals facing their own battle with cancer. But in his wake he left many real individuals with shattered lives.

I like a tough sportsman, give me the Badger on a bike (Bernard Hinault) any day and I will show him great respect, but I will not give respect, forgiveness or absolution to a man who does not truly understand what he did wrong. Even if the words are there, there is something missing in Lance Armstrong that makes him powerful, but not a man I would want as a friend and certainly not as an enemy, and never again as a hero.

Can't he just go run bike and swim in private?

Do we need to offer Armstrong our forgiveness? Do we need to let him orchestrate and determine our opinion of him? I think we are smart enough, even if somewhat uninformed or not privy to all the details, to make up our own minds. I am tired of Lance Armstrong, tired because others are more deserved of our attention. But I would like to say this - Lance you are wrong about your redemption being in your hands - it is in ours. Each one of ours. People forgive but we do not forget.

Is cycling done?

Last night's interview on Charlie Rose with David Epstein (Sports Illustrated), Daniel Coyle (Author), and Juliet Macur (NYT) was exceptional in it's content and clarity. Please watch this interview video: A discussion about Lance Armstrong's doping confession

During the interview, in one brief inhale, Charlie Rose made the statement, "okay, so cycling is done," then carried on to the next question. What, cycling is done? How sad. How tragic. To me the word cycling has always described far more than professional cycling. When I think of cycling I think of kids and their first bike, I think of friends meeting for a weekend ride together, I think of the fun of bike maintenance, or the good of exercise.

Still I believe Frankie Andreu is correct in saying that Lance Armstrong holds the key to cleaning up the sport of cycling because he was the leader, he knows how it was done. I refuse to think the fate of cycling rests solely on Lance Armstrong. Just as we hold the decision of Armstrong's redemption, I would like to think we collectively hold the future of cycling. 

I'm not sure which quote applies more for the day

"The flame that burns Twice as bright burns half as long." or "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me"

There was no Oprah couch at the 2.5 hour interview, which was moved to a Hotel in Austin, Texas, with nice decorative glass bottles. I can't wait to hear what was said in that room.
A lot of background history to read prior to the interview tonight: Analysis: What USADA’s case file means to those involved. By Neal Rogers for VeloNews