Why do you suppose Lance Armstrong chose Oprah Winfrey to finally confess to doping during his Tour de France races? One reason could be that he hoped she might be sympathetic to his plight. He certainly would not get that from any sportscaster that might have interviewed. Just think how it might have gone if Bob Costas has been the interviewer. Or maybe he thought that more people would watch if Winfrey did the interview. He might has considered that her audience, which is mostly female, might see him in a different light if he finally came clean to something that was already public knowledge.
The two-part interview, totaling 2.5 hours, was seen in over 190 nations. In the U.S. audiences shrunk dramatically after the first part of the interview from 3.2 million to just 1.8 million for part two.
Winfrey had mastered the facts of Armstrong’s doping, and her questions were comprehensive and well formulated, but Armstrong was ready for all of them. It is clear that Armstrong and his team of advisers did not underestimate Winfrey’s skills and worked hard to prepare for the interview.
Armstrong told Winfrey early that he would only tell her “what is true and not true.” By doing so avoided complete sentences that could be used against him in litigation from the Times of London (seeking to recapture a libel payment), an insurance company seeking to recapture millions lost to Armstrong in an arbitration and other claims. Although his attorneys most certainly advised Armstrong not to do the Winfrey interview, once he decided to do the interview, they prepared him with answers to anticipated questions that minimized the damage.
When asked how the proof of his doping had affected his income, he replied that he had lost “all future income.” He avoided embarrassment in future interrogations in which his adversaries would have access to his financial records. It was another sign of his detailed preparation for the interview, and it demonstrates that he is preparing to use his fortune to settle with those he has bullied and attacked.
The 90-minute interview took part at Armstrong’s Austin, Texas home and was the first interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport for life. Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union, said on the actions, ” “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling, This is a landmark day for cycling.” Armstrong had won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.
Armstrong, who himself recovered from testicular cancer, created the Lance Armstrong Foundation (now known as the LIVESTRONG Foundation) to help people with cancer cope, as well as foster a community for cancer awareness. Armstrong resigned late last year as chairman of the LIVESTRONG Foundation, which raised millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.
On his way to the interview Armstrong stopped by the Livestrong Foundation to apologize to staff members for letting them down. He did not make a direct confession to using banned drugs. He said he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity’s mission of helping cancer patients and their families.
Why bother to come clean at all? Well, one reason is that he no longer can face perjury charges. He testified under oath in 2005 that he had never used performance-enhancing drugs. The statute of limitations on that testimony ran out after seven years, meaning Armstrong cannot be tried for perjury.
He thinks that the ban might be lifted and he would be allowed to race again.
And he might really be truly sorry for lying to his friends, the Livestrong Foundation, his fans and after suing them, calling them liars and resorting to intimidation, Maybe he wants to make amends.
Oprah Winfrey says she believes that he can be a hero again. ‘If he is willing to do the work … he can be a real hero,” Winfrey said during a lecture in Edmonton, the first stop on a speaking tour through Western Canada.
She said Armstrong’s fall from grace is so huge, it means a lot that he has finally come clean. But he also needs to realize his life is not just about a bike, races or a big mistake.
”Everybody has the ability within them to rise again. What really matters in the world is what kind of human being he chooses to be.”
One last piece to this story. Armstrong was born Lance Edward Gunderson to Linda Walling and Eddie Charles Gunderson. He was named after Lance Rentzel, a Dallas Cowboys wide receiver. His father left his mother when Lance was two. His mother later married Terry Keith Armstrong, who adopted Lance in 1974.  Linda has married and divorced four times. Armstrong refuses to meet his birth father and has described his stepfather as deceitful. It would seem that Armstrong learned a lot from his stepfather.