More than a year after Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, the athlete sat down with TV host Oprah Winfrey to admit that every word was nothing but a lie. On his way down, everything he built around that lie came crumbling down.
From being praised for surviving cancer and his subsequent seven successful victories of the Tour de France, a record that has now been removed from history books, the American cyclist was heavily criticised.
The downfall left him as an unwelcome personality the cycling world and condemned in social networks but somehow, surprisingly, he says that he’s still well received in society.
In spite of the negative criticism that he received in social media, thanks in part to the ubiquity of these forms of online interaction, he says that his daily life is still positive. This is something that still manages to surprise him.
Some of the legal implications that arose after his doping allegations were exposed, the greatest one of them occupies a preponderant place. His struggle against the United States’ federal government by the sponsorship of his former cycling team has potential ramifications of $100 million for a man who once was one of the most profitable sports stars in the world.
After these struggles, Armstrong claimed to be living a new life, the one of a skilled cyclist who is ready to start all over again. There’s a long list of people who were hurt by him, and perhaps they’ll never forgive him, including the three-time champion of the Tour, Greg LeMond; journalist David Walsh, and his former friends Betsy and Frankie Andreu.
Some wondered if his admissions of guilt on national television was enough, or if he needed to show any more signs of repent.
He admitted that it wasn’t enough to have a one hour televised conversation in order to do justice to what happened. Maybe it’s enough for most, people but for many others, fans of cycling, fans of sports, and so on, it just wasn’t.
Some people, such as his former masseuse, accepted his apologies; even though he effectively called Emma O’Reilly an “alcoholic” and a “whore”, whereas others, such as the LeMonds and the Andreus haven’t done it.
On Winfrey’s show, he said that his first call was to Betsy, who accepted the apology, but later seemed to have rejected it. The important thing, he said, is that he was sorry and he meant it. He stated that just because he didn’t want to relate to them, it didn’t change the fact that he felt ashamed about his behavior and he feels sorry.
All of this was derived from a lie, from refusing to be honest about doping. He said he lost count of the amount of people he lied to. He even admitted being good at lying. Once he began saying he had never doped himself, he just kept on saying “no”.
On the other hand, there were others who perpetuated the lie and were part of the cover-up, and they themselves could face sanctions.
However, Armstrong insists upon the fact that it’s not about finding people to blame. He admits that he’s a grown man who made his choices and needs to be responsible about it. Nobody forced him or harassed him, so he is in no position to say that it’s not his fault. He concluded that there was no one else to blame but himself.
There’s a feeling that the cyclist is trying to rebuild his damaged reputation. It seems unlikely that he’ll ever be well received within the cycling society, and the days of meeting presidents and Hollywood stars are long gone.
Some of his friends stopped calling or returning his calls, but he seems to be slowly getting out of his reclusiveness. He’s convinced of the fact that he’s not part of a strategy to control damages. Even though he admits that it may look like it at times, there is really no public relations campaign.
Among his plans for the future there’s the re-starting of his original foundation for cancer research, (the Lance Armstrong foundation), even though he didn’t establish a time frame, and he has plans to launch another book. Considering that the first one has an important falseness within, finding the correct author to undertake the project could be difficult, but he wants to do it and he promises that this time it will be a completely transparent one.
He says he needs to write a book and that it needs to be a very open one. He also states that he hasn’t read any books or seen any shows about him.
However, he still has doubts about whether the book will bring him closure. That depends on how the book is received. He’s totally committed to getting the truth out there.