Lance Armstrong is scary: he lied, won and feels no guilt

by Ashish Magotra  Jan 18, 2013 11:40 IST

#Cycling   #InMyOpinion   #Lance Armstrong   #Oprah Winfrey  

Did it feel wrong?
"No," Armstrong replied. Scary.

"Did you feel bad about it?" Winfrey pressed him.
"No," he said. Even scarier.

"Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?"
"No," Armstrong paused. Scariest.

As someone on Twitter commented, the scariest thing about the Oprah interview with Armstrong was the man himself. At times, it seemed scripted – like the Tour de France in the doping years if you will – Oprah’s solid beginning, Armstrong’s resistance but with a slight change, there was no comeback.

There couldn’t be one.

We still don't know why Armstrong chose to live a lie. Can winning be such an obsession? AFP

We now know Armstrong’s side of the story and the one thing that stands out after his confession to Oprah Winfrey is that he feels no guilt. Guilt is an emotion that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard. He probably feels no guilt because he had no moral standards. Nothing was too much, nothing was too wrong, only winning mattered.

At the end of the day, we still don't know why. We still don't know why Armstrong chose to live a lie. Can winning be such an obsession?

At no point, in the first part of his interview did he say, that he doped because he wanted to. It was always about how someone else’s action forced his hand. It was always about it wasn’t possible to win without doping. He even blamed his cancer for his illegal use of testosterone.

During the course of an interview, Armstrong said there are “five guys” who were riding clean during his cycling days. They are “heroes.”

In the comments section of our live updates copy, Christopher London, Esq. said: “Lance Armstrong is still very much a hero to me. But then again I do not expect my heroes to be inhuman. I recognize that human beings are imperfect. I refuse to hate or condemn a guy who fought to get over cancer, live a productive life and use his name to motivate many who may have given up on themselves but for his example. I accept he was a prick to many in his inner circles of life and for that reason he is probably more alone then most might otherwise suspect.”

The thing is Lance wasn’t inhuman. He was just a cheat — not a regular one either. Though in his own words, he needed to look up the definition of the word to tell himself time and again that he wasn’t cheating. His words were classic: “I looked up the definition of cheat. The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage over a rival or foe. I didn’t do that. I viewed it as a level playing field.”

Lance is pretty clearly not a hero and he didn’t want to be one either – he wanted to be a winner and he didn't mind being a villain of the piece to achieve his goal.

There were times in the interview when he smiled. There were no tears, no breakdown, no emotions were on display at all. He was wearing the yellow Livestrong band, that he popularised during his run of seven consecutive Tour De France wins, during the interview and that was another indication of how much deceit has become part and parcel of his life.

Many around the world have altered Livestrong and now read it as Liestrong. Just a little smudging and it’s done. And that’s something that Armstrong could have given them all pointers on.