|Lance Armstrong during his interview with Oprah Winfrey|
I couldn’t resist writing something about the upcoming Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. In light of all the information that has already come out, I’ve been asked a few times on what my opinion on the whole thing is.
To be perfectly honest I’m kind of shrugging my shoulders at the whole affair right now and am certainly not surprised that he’s finally admitting to using PEDs during his reign as 7 time Tour de France champion. In on of my previous blog posts on the whole thing, I said that the best thing he could do is come clean about it all. Really I don’t think he had much of a choice, coming clean is the only way he could make his way back into the limelight. For a celebrity of his stature, that basically seals the deal, it was only a matter of time.
Since he gave up his fight against USADA, the sanctions placed upon him have prohibited him from racing. Though he’s no longer racing in the TdF, Lance was well on his way to some impressive accomplishments in the world of triathlon, and was looking forward to some badass marathon times. I think that a big part of his admission involves getting his ticket stamped for a return to racing, and public acceptance as a celebrity figure once again.
Now many internet forums, Facebook posts, and Twitter arguments have come about in the past few days over to whether or not he deserves our forgiveness and a return to racing. To be perfectly honest, I do hope to see Lance Armstrong return to racing, it makes for good TV and interesting races. A lot of people seem to have taken Lance’s lies pretty personally and seek to abolish him from sport altogether. I simply can’t wrap my head around those people’s point of view.
Lance Armstrong has done a lot for cycling. Like it or not, he brought the sport of professional cycling into mainstream sport in North America. Were it not for him I’m willing to bet that there are more than a few people who would have never gone out and bought their first road bike. So people are willing to throw cycling out of where it is today in North America, they can’t sit there and say the guy ruined cycling and deserves to be drubbed out of the sport altogether.
Lance Armstrong has also given a lot of people a glimmer of hope. I would challenge anyone to read “It’s Not About the Bike”, and say that his story isn’t one worth knowing. At least his story as he battled cancer anyways. And thats another reason why I honestly believe that the impact of his presence in our culture has been a net positive.
Now the word on the street, specifically the New York Times street, is that Armstrong may be willing to testify against the UCI, international cycling’s governing body. The plot thickens. I think there are a lot of people in the cycling community that would agree that the only people dirtier than Armstrong in this whole affair are the guys at the UCI, guys like Pat McQuaid. Under McQuaid’s watch doping was rampant and he had no shortage of opportunities to clean up cycling, between Operation Puerto, the Festina affair, and Armstrong, its clear that doping was an infection that was allowed to fester in cycling for years. (Check out Greg LeMond’s comments in December for a bit more context).
Whether you’re pro Armstrong, anti-Armstrong, or couldn’t care less, I think that if you’re interested in a clean future for cycling, there’s would be nothing better than to see Armstrong provide some damning testimony to bring the house down. It would be sort of like one of those mafia movies where the right hand man is given immunity for testifying against the family.
Anyways, those are just a few ramblings of mine ahead of this Oprah interview. If there’s any big winner from this, its The Oprah Network. I have to call Telus right now to subscribe to a network I never thought I’d ask for.
The website says they’ll be playing it live on http://www.oprah.com. 7pm Alberta time. Thurs and Fri night.