We don’t subscribe to the OWN Network at home, but I happen to be on the road tonight and my hotel carries the network on which Lance Armstrong is being interviewed by O. It’s about 40 minutes into what I think is a ninety minute show. There’s another 90 coming tomorrow, I believe. I’d read a lot over the last few days about what Lance was reported to have said, and more critically, what he didn’t say. I certainly got the impression that he had been cautious and even evasive. Upon watching, that’s not at all what I perceived.

Let me say right now that I have always admired Lance. I ride a little myself. Enough to appreciate what a brutal sport it can be. I suspected he doped as everyone in the sport did to compete at that level. And tonight, I will say I think he was brutally honest, and I admire him for that. I don’t think he knows yet why he was so defiant all these years. That’s ok by me. I don’t think most of us know how we are flawed let alone why we are flawed. We just are and we try hard not to be, at least most of us do.

Lance is just a man. He’s done some good in his life. He’s done plenty of wrong. He competed. He won. Those against whom he competed also doped. I don’t condone what he did. I have a really hard time understanding why he decided he needed to be so public in his defiance, but I also know that he won seven Tours and I didn’t win any. He’s cut from a different mold.

I didn’t expect to walk away from the interview feeling better about Lance, but I do. I am not sure he told the truth in response to every question tonight. Still, he was humble tonight and that is not a bad way to be, even if the humility comes very late.

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5 Responses to Lance

  1. Beatriz says:

    I have admired him for so long, in spite of the media saying he was this or he was that- I couldn’t care less, he was my hero and I followed every Tour he took mesmerized by his will power. So he did it, ok, I would probably have done it too under such pressure. And as you well say, so did the others. So why this fuzz with him now? why is that sometimes we human beings find ourselves better when we have the chance to kick those who are in the mud or those who have reached the stars? Why?He is my hero for having that spirit that took him to conquer. He was a gladiator in the bike and he performed amazingly. I read his biography and he did was he did, because he WORKED on it
    Anyway, I did not see the interview, maybe Ill try to get to see it, although I prefer not to, I prefer not to witnessing -if any- questions that for me at least, are not relevant. He was unique and for me, he still is. An extraordinary human being that made a mistake, but surely taller than those who criticize him

  2. I wish I had seen the interview, but I have to say — he’s gone out of his way to be arrogant and condescending in his lies (his Nike ad: “People ask what am I on… What am I ON? I’m on my bike 6 hours a day, busting my ass. What are YOU on?” ) — so no matter what he says now, he has a long way to go before he’s a credible person, much less a spokesperson for a philanthropy. I feel badly that he felt like he had to dope to win, and that he was so ferociously competitive that he would do that, despite all his health issues. “Judge not, lest ye be judged ” leaps to mind when I consider this story — but I still feel badly for the other cyclists who were riding clean, didn’t win, and perhaps had a lot of big dreams die.

  3. Scott White says:

    I remember reading “It’s Not About the Bike” while I was walking on a treadmill after open heart surgery. I remember how it resonated with me, about how after his surgery, old women were passing him on his daily walks. I remember his descriptions of his wife being by his side every step of the way, enduring all his medical trials with him. But once he was well, he dumped her. Not just from his life, but from his consciousness. It reminded me of when people died in “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” I would miss a line “and he died” and be 10 pages on wondering what happened to that character. His wife didn’t die, but he never mentions her again in the book. No “thank you”; no “could have not done it without her”, nothing. While I agree that it was a more level playing field than most are willing to acknowledge, and he is an amazing athlete who, incidentally, took a bunch of performance enhancing drugs and transfusions. But he is not a nice guy. He destroyed the lives of his personal aid and good friends with his attacks on their characters and assaults as fierce as any mountain attacks. He is as a much a royal prick as he is an amazing athlete.

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