Is it really any surprise that Lance Armstrong is starring in a 90-minute Oprah Winfrey show this week? Of course not.
‘If scripted by Hollywood, the story would be dismissed as trite melodrama,’ reads the opening sentence of Lance Armstrong’s biography on his own website. I assume it refers to his happier, pre USADA investigation days, but it’s ironically relevant now.
Armstrong’s cancer battle, racing career and subsequent fall from grace are certainly the kind of stuff that fills cinema seats. And let’s not forget that Lance is a great actor. It’s probably the truest thing about him.
‘He’ll do anything to make people love him. And if crying is what it takes, he’s going to cry,’ says self-confessed doper, turned critic, Matt DeCanio. “Oprah Winfrey appeals to the general American public who just want to hear a feel good story,” the American told BBC Radio 5 live.
“He (Armstrong) is basically going to do and say anything that will mean that you can still buy a candy bar with his face on it or a bicycle that he endorses.”
Worryingly the show will probably help his flagging popularity in the States. It’s not as though Armstrong is facing a Paxman-style grilling. Let’s not forget that convicted drugs cheat Marion Jones told Oprah she thought she was just taking supplements and Tiger Woods said that he had cheated on his wife with a succession of mistresses because he had stopped being a Buddhist. Don’t expect too much from the Oprah show, except to be entertained!
This article was first published in the January17 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.