Sunday 20 January 2013

The Lance Armstrong Interview: An admission of guilt but something still missing

I watched the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah on Friday and the second part of the interview this afternoon.

We got the confession that he'd doped throughout his career and cheated his way to 7 Tour de France titles, but despite this I still felt there was something missing and unsatisfactory from his confession.

Like many elite athletes, Armstrong is use to being in control, setting the agenda, calling the shots. There was still an element of this in his interview or performance.

Yes there was an acceptance that he had to apologise, but I don't think there was a deep seated sense of remorse. The impression still lingers that he did what he had to do to win the Tour, and went about it in a ruthless and cynical way. If that meant doping then so bit it.

I don't think it was possible to win the Tour de France during the 'EPO' era of cycling when Armstrong was winning his seven titles.

I discovered more about this period after reading the autobiography of British cyclist David Millar who was banned for two years for doping. His book gives you an insight into the world of professional cycling at the time and the culture of drug taking.

I agree with Armstrong's claim that he didn't create the culture of doping but he didn't try and change it either. Instead he ruthlessly exploited it.

Sports stars have always cheated. What makes Armstrong's case different is that not only did he cheat, but for years he denied ever taking drugs. He then went out and attacked those people whose accusations were correct all along.

There was Emma O'Reilly his former massage therapist who he called a whore at a Dallas Tribunal In November 2005.

Betsy Andreu the wife of the cyclist Frankie Andreu. In 1996 she'd been present in the consulting room at Indiana University hospital when she heard Armstrong admit to two doctors that he had used performance enhancing drugs before he was diagnosed with cancer.

Despite calling her a liar for many years, he couldn't bring himself to publicly apologize during his interview with Oprah.

Finally, there's David Walsh, from the Sunday Times. For over 10 years he's made it almost a personal crusade to reveal the truth about Armstrong. Walsh raised many of the allegations against Armstrong in his co-authored book titled, LA Confidential.

Reading in today's Sunday Times he reveals how Armstrong referred to him as a "little f**king troll". Tells you everything you need to know about Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong has to be one of the most flawed sports stars I think I've seen. There's an admission of guilt, but in his mind he did what he had to do in a sport that was riddled with drug taking.

It's the bullying and intimidation that he inflicted on the cycling world and those who questioned him that I find distasteful. If you also add the building of the myth and Armstrong brand. It takes his cheating and deceit to a whole new level.

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