Like millions of others I watched the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah this weekend and it vividly reminded me of another interview: that famous 1995 interview with Princess Diana. She had that same wide-eyed look, cock of the head, tone of regret. And like Lance, she chose a specific person to conduct the interview, the well-known BBC journalist, Martin Bashir.
Lance Armstrong’s interview was a carefully crafted event it seems to me, just like Diana’s. Choosing Oprah as the interviewer got him prime time coverage around the world for his ‘confession’. Although he admitted the drug use, being a narcissist, a bully and a ruthless competitor, his only defence it seemed to me was being ‘a flawed human being’. I never really got the sense that he regretted it and as for the tears when he talked about telling his kids ‘not to defend me’, he should be ashamed as he had lied to them their entire lives.
I read It’s Not About the Bike a long time ago and truly admired what he’d achieved, it was inspirational. I even bought a LiveStrong yellow wristband and waxed lyrical to whoever would listen about what an amazing person he was, what an athlete. Later I read David Walsh’s 2007 book From Lance to Landis and my eyes were opened. This quote from It’s Not About the Bike really sticks in my craw. It may have been written when he was in the throes of cancer but just look how far from this vision of himself he actually got, it’s sickening.
“I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, wished hard, but I didn’t pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organised religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant being fair, honest, hard working and honourable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn’t a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I’d been baptised.”
I am glad he’s finally confessed all, but for all of the pain he has caused others, the lies he has told and the children and families in LiveStrong he has betrayed, he deserves everything he has got coming to him.
Categories: Just Plain Blog