6 Thoughts About Part II of the Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey Interview

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By Robert Johnson
January 18, 2013

1. Day two wasn’t a bit of let-down as compared to day one.

Maybe it’s just because it’s late on Friday night, but that was my first thought.

2. Oprah didn’t seem nearly as good on day two as day one as she missed tons of obvious follow-up questions.

I can’t complain too much as overall Oprah was great. Plus I’m seemingly tired from yesterday and I got to rest for 22.5 hours and she had to film it all at one sitting. And if you told me going into the interview that Lance would be asked about his twitter picture of his 7 TDF jerseys, I would not have believed it.

But repeatedly tonight, Lance would answer a question for Oprah and then Oprah would just completely miss asking an obvious follow-up (or if she did maybe it was edited out – do we know if everything was shown?).

For example, near the end of the interview, Lance talked about how this all was taking a huge toil on his mother. Yet, Oprah didn’t ask the obvious question of, “Did your mother know about the doping all along?”

3. Just as in day one, there was one instance where I just couldn’t believe Lance did something.  

On day one, I couldn’t believe Lance went out of his way to say he didn’t call Betsy Andreu a crazy fat bitch versus just a crazy bitch. Today, I couldn’t believe he went out ofhis way to tell Oprah he lost $75 million in a single day when the sponsors abandoned him.

I’m nor sure how Lance thought that would generate sympathy. As for Oprah, either she’s too rich or was too tired to ask the obvious question of, “Well isn’t it true you wouldn’t have had millions of dollar as to lose and we wouldn’t even know who Lance Armstrong was if you hadn’t doped?”

This whole doping thing with Lance really was one of the biggest thefts in world history (more than $100 million) and that was never really brought up.

4. It was surprising to hear how much Lance really does want to compete again.

Going into the interview, one of the main questions I had was thinking was, “Why is he doing this? I can’t believe competing in some marathon or triathlon is important to him,”  but apparently it is. I was thinking the whole point was for Lance to try to regain some public stature so ultimately he could make some money. That’s still my thought but it seemed clear he really does also want to compete (side note: a source I don’t have a total faith in that said Lance could easily make $200,000 a year in triathlons in appearance fees alone).

Most 41 year old pros are ready to quit and enjoy the easily life whereas Lance was talking about running the Chicago marathon at age 50. It made me think he’s a bit like a border collie. A border collie is bred so strongly that he or she is always herding, even indoors. Seems like Lance is always needing to compete.

That being said, it was stunning to hear Lance say, “I deserve it,” with it being an opportunity to compete again and then complain how he didn’t get a six-month ban like other riders. The most arrogant line of the night came when Lance called a lifetime ban from organized Olympic sports a “death penalty.”

“I deserve to be punished. I’m not sure I deserve the death penalty,” said Lance.

Lance, the other riders haven’t been denying it on worldwide tv for 10+ years, suing people, lying under oath, using cancer to make them seem credible, etc.

I don’t want to get into a pro/anti-death penalty debate here, but if the death penalty is ever warranted in sports, it’s hard to argue that Lance doesn’t really, really deserve it. Instead, he was still offering the ‘everyone was doing it’ excuse. In reality, we aren’t talking about a “Death penalty” we are talking about a lifetime ban – Lance just thinks of it as a death penalty as he’s incredibly self-absorbed.

5. Lance doubled down on insisting that he didn’t dope during his comeback and then he threw it all in when he basically said Travis Tygart was a liar when Tygart said last week that Lance offered USADA a donation.

The experts who have looked at Lance’s biological passport have said there is a one in a million chance he didn’t dope during his comeback but Lance said he promised his ex-wife, Kristin Armstrong, he wouldn’t do it. He also said his ex-wife was a very honest person who didn’t like doping. Yet, according to the USADA report, she once rolled PEDs drugs for Lance. She clearly wasn’t honest enough to help the truth out or stop people from getting “run over” by her husband as she didn’t want to lose millions.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the no post-comeback doping claim. Maybe Lance is counting on the fact that since USADA has already banned him for life so there is no need for them prove it post-comeback. But assuming he did dope, I still don’t really get the point of him saying he didn’t? To keep some sort of weird promise to Kristin? I have no idea? To move up a possible reduced 8-year doping ban to 2005?

It will be interesting to see how Tygart reacts to Lance basically calling him a liar.

5. Lance appeared somewhat human when he teared up about having to tell his son, but for the most part he came across as Lance which was only fitting.

It should be pointed out though that he didn’t tell his oldest son until the he absolutely had to – the Christmas Holidays.

I’m actually glad that Lance didn’t do a big sob thing or anything like that as it would be very obvious it was fake. This was a guy who for the most part came across as Lance through and through. At one, when asked by Oprah if he’d apologize to the journalist David Walsh whom Armstrong sued,  Lance hesitated and barely could say, “I’d apologize,” but in a way it was clear he didn’t think it was deserved or sincere.

Along those lines, it was certainly appropriate that the time when Lance seemed to be the most honest was when asked if he had been totally changed because of the whole doping bust, he admitted, “I’d be lying if I said that it had.”

Perhaps Betsy Andreu summed the whole Lance Armstrong interview best when she appeared on the Anderson Cooper on CNN afterwards when she said of Lance, “He’s cherry picking the truth.”

Well said. Lance is a liar and fraud and thus even when he’s supposed to be apologize and confessing, he seemingly can’t be totally truthful.

More: Part I Analysis: Oprah & Lance Part I: 4 General Thoughts, 3 Unanswered Questions and 1 Place Where Oprah Came Up Short