As the interview with Lance Armstrong progressed Friday night, Oprah Winfrey went back and forth between emotional questions and digging into the fraud Lance Armstrong perpetrated on the sporting public and the costs associated with it.
“I’ve lost all future income,” Armstrong said matter of factly. “You could look at the day or two days when (sponsors) left. I don’t like thinking about it, but that was a $75 million day.”
Armstrong did show some more emotion when talking about his mother.
“She’s a wreck,” he said. “… (But) she’s a tough lady and gotten through every other tough moment in her life.”
But it was only after a conversation on facetime that reality hit.
“It took seeing her to really understand it’s taking a toll on her life.”
Armstrong showed a brief bit of self doubt when asked if he will rise again.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know what’s out there. I do not know the outcome. I’m getting comfortable with that.”
Winfrey asked Armstrong if he was a better human being for all his actions. Again he answered with little emotion.
“Without a doubt,” Armstrong said. “And again this happened twice in my life. When I was diagnosed I was a better human being after that and a smarter human being. But I lost my way. … But I can’t lose my way again. Only I can control that and I’m in no position to make promises. That is the biggest challenge the rest of my life.”
Armstrong, expressing that he is now in a different place emotionally than he had been virtually all of his competitive life, talked about viewing tapes of his defiant behavior over the years with his children.
“If I had one of my kids act like that,” he said. “I’d be apoplectic.”
Winfrey closed the hour-long second part by asking what the moral to story would be. Armstrong had no answer, so Winfrey offered one up for him, by quoting his first wife, Kristin.
“The truth will set you free,” Winfrey said.
Posted 6:50 p.m. PST
After telling Oprah Winfrey in the second part of their interview Friday night that be believes he was punished too harshly for his use of performance-enhancing drugs and that he believes he “deserves” to be able to compete again, Lance Armstrong finally began to show some emotion when talking about speaking with his son and admitting his drug use.
Asked how recent developments affected his 13-year-old son, Luke, Armstrong said, “When this all really started, I saw my son defending me, saying, ‘What you’re saying about my dad is not true,’ and it almost goes to the question of ‘Why now?’…" That, Armstrong said, was when he needed to tell his children.
Armstrong started to tear up while describing his feelings about his son, and other children. “That’s when I knew I had to tell him. He’d never asked me. ... He trusted me.”
Armstrong said he had a talk with Luke over the holidays. “I said, ‘Listen, there’s been a lot of questions about your dad.’ I said, ‘I want you to know that it’s true.’ And there were the girls and Luke, and they didn’t say much. ... They just accepted it.
“I told Luke, I said ...” Armstrong paused and tried to compose himself: ‘Don’t defend me anymore.’”
Armstrong said his son “has been remarkably calm and mature about this. ... Thank god he’s more like Kristin [Armstrong’s former wife] than he is like me.”
Asked what his intention was or hope he had coming out of his long-awaited admission, he said, “The well-being of my children.”
Posted 6:25 p.m. PST
Sequels are rarely as good as the originals so Friday’s broadcast of the Lance Armstrong self-cleansing was not as highly anticipated as Part 1 on Thursday.
If Armstrong was trying to sway America back to loving the man behind the yellow plastic bracelets he didn’t do it on Thursday,whe he came off as too stiff and not showing enough emotion or repentance. Since the interview was conducted in a 2 1/2-hour span Monday, he was not afforded the chance to regroup and fix his demeanor for Friday’s broadcast.
Oprah Winfrey, who seemed well-prepared and in control of the interview on Thursday, opened the second show questioning how Armstrong felt when most of his sponsors -- Nike, Anheiser Busch, Oakley -- started to leave him.
“It was a Wednesday,” Armstrong said. “Nike called. … They said they were out. … But the one person I didn’t think would leave would be the foundation.”
Armstrong was referring to Livestrong, the cancer charity he made famous.
“That was the most humbling moment,” he said. “That was the lowest.”
Winfrey, after reading an email from a cancer victim that heard the cyclist was a jerk but was still rooting for him, asked if he was facing his demons.
“Absolutely,” Armstrong said with his usual lack of elaboration. “It’s a process. We’re at the beginning of the process.”
Winfrey skillfully used tape of past Armstrong interviews to set up many of her questions. She showed a 2005 news confernce where Armstrong’s hubris and doping denials were on full display.
“I don’t like that guy,” Armstrong said. “That is a guy who felt invincible, who was told he was invinciible and … was invincible. That guy is still there. I’m not going to lie. He’s still there. Does he need to be exiting during this process: Yes.”
Armstrong talked about his need to compete, something he can’t do in any sanctioned event.
“I’m a competitor,” he said. “But I don’t expect it (to compete again) to happen. … Would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I’m 50, but I can’t. Right now I can’t run the Austin 10K.”
But throughout the first part of Friday’s broadcast, Armstrong was unable to outwardly show the kind of remorse sought by the public. When asked if he was remorseful, he said; “Everybody who gets caught gets bummed out they got caught.”
And when asked if he thought his penalty was too severe, he said: “I deserve to be puinished but I’m not sure I deserved the death penalty.”
Posted 5:50 p.m. PST
Part 2 of Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey is about to start, though many viewers on the West Coast won’t see what the disgraced cyclist has to say until the 9 p.m. PST on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Armstrong, banned for life from competing in elite-level competitions because of his systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs while becoming one of the world’s most famous athletes, will apparently change gears somewhat and speak about the effects on his life and his family of the belated admission by Armstrong that he had been doping and lying about it for so long.
How viewers will react to tonight’s revelations is unclear. There was a good deal of skepticism from inside and outside the cycling community about Armstrong’s motives for finally fessing up after Part 1 of the interview was shown on Thursday. (The interview was taped on Monday and broken into two segments.)
Armstrong had vehemently denied any use of PEDs for decades and had attacked those who accused him -- correctly, it turned out.
Mending some of those fences might never be possible, and those hurt by Armstrong are not likely to feel much sympathy for someone who acknowledged that he has brought all this trouble on himself.
And regaining eligibility from anti-doping authorities won’t be easy either, as comments from Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, indicated.
“Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit,” Tygart said.
“His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.”
Armstrong did not implicate other riders or cycling officials in Thursday’s installment. Indications seem to be, without that kind of information, it’s going to be a very long road to any kind of reinstatement.