Lance Armstrong to Oprah Winfrey: I Was Defiant & Arrogant
You didn't have to be a cancer survivor or a fan of cycling to share in the feeling that Lance Armstrong was a tour de force human being—millions of people could attest to that. But his perfect story of inspiration has been completely obliterated in the ugliest way, now that it's come to light that everything he built was based on falsehoods and a ferocious obsession to win.
Just in the past few months, the athlete has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles, banned for life from elite competition, forced to step down as chairman of his LiveStrong cancer foundation, dropped by his sponsors, and just on Thursday, dispossessed of his 2000 bronze medal he received at the Sydney Olympics. As for Armstrong's lawsuit saga, that chapter is being written out as we speak...
Last night the once world-renowned athlete decided to come clean in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. We watched in disbelief as a poker-faced and unemotional Armstrong admitted to doping via blood transfusions, EPO, testosterone, human growth hormone, and cortisone—starting in the mid 90s.
So why is he fessing up now? He told Winfrey he couldn't really give her a straight answer—and unfortunately, that evasiveness turned out to be a theme throughout the 90-minute interview. Perhaps much of the reason could be attributed to litigation; he didn't want implicate others in doping, which, according to him, is deeply pervasive in the sport.
"I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture," Armstrong frankly stated, adding that at the time, he didn't believe he was cheating—doping just made it a "level playing field."
That's not to say he didn't repeatedly impart his "mea culpas" to Winfrey. He claimed he understood that he was solely responsible for his actions and that his "ruthless desire to win"—made worse by his self-proclaimed "defiance" and "arrogance"—was his unraveling. As for the people and fellow teammates he tried to publicly ruin for outing him, he said he knows his apology is too late.
"You're suing people when you know they're telling the truth. What is that?!" asked Winfrey incredulously.
"It's a major flaw...it's inexcusable," Armstrong responded.
For some, Armstrong's shocking hubris can only be understood as a classic case of narcissistic personality disorder. The more cynically inclined believe he only agreed to speak with Winfrey in an effort to get back into competing professionally. Still, there are others who just hope that he's learned his lesson and is beginning to realize his unconscionable moral failure—not as an athlete but rather, as a human being.
Will Armstrong prove to be a truly repentant man? For that, you can guarantee he'll be tested time and time again.
For those of you who watched, what did you think of the interview? Should Armstrong be given a second chance to right his wrongs?
Cyclist, Philanthropist / 1971 -
Lance Armstrong is a professional American cyclist and testicular cancer survivor who, in 2012, was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005 due to evidence of performance-enhancing drug use.