No sympathy for Lance Armstrong after doping confession to Oprah
Lance Armstrong is a liar.
In a two-part interview set to air this Thursday on OWN, the seven-time Tour de France champion will finally admit to Oprah Winfrey he doped to win those coveted titles.
He duped us all for years and made plenty of money while he was at it. Though Armstrong had the ego to keep up his charade, his former teammates faced their fears and told the truth to authorities.
Winfrey appeared on "CBS This Morning" to preview the broadcast. She revealed how she convinced Armstrong to talk (while they were vacationing in Hawaii on separate islands) and called the one-on-one exchange "the best interview" she has ever conducted.
"We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers," she revealed. "He met the moment."
I cringe at the memories of purchasing my first road bike from Armstrong's shop and seeing him speak in person last year at a Texas Tribune event in Austin. He discussed his support for noble causes like anti-smoking legislation and cancer research. He also issued his standard denial when asked about the latest developments in the cheating scandal. Armstrong was so emphatic. He looked tired and frustrated, too. I felt sorry for him. I was also too gullible.
I don't know whether Armstrong is now looking for sympathy or a path to return to competition. Whatever the reason for the Oprah interview, he should not be allowed to profit further from his disgraced legacy. (Perhaps with the exception of paying back the government for subsidizing the U.S. Postal Service team, as well as the plaintiffs involved in a number of suits that previously ruled in Armstrong's favor.)
Since Armstrong's fall from grace, we've been left to ponder what might happen to his other major endeavor: inspiring cancer patients and raising money for research. For now, he is making the right decision to separate himself from the LIVESTRONG Foundation. I hope that organization finds a way to remain relevant.
The other issue is the proliferation of steroid use in professional cycling. Those who've defended Armstrong in the media should come forward with solutions for cleaning up the sport.
Does the cycling community need to inflict larger fines and penalties on individuals and teams that are caught taking steroids? Or level the playing field and create an atmosphere where athletes can disclose what they're taking? Should sponsors pull their support from competitions till racers get their act together?
I don't have any clear answers yet.
I'll be watching Thursday's interview with great interest.
Here's an AP Interactive that tracks the history of the Lance Armstrong cheating scandal, from 2004 to present day:
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Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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