Lance Armstrong admitted today to doping and using steroids, blood boosters, and illegal blood transfusions in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. As a result, he has been stripped of his interview count and banned from all future Oprah shows.
Long considered an inspiration to cancer survivors everywhere, Armstrong’s admission will come as a blow to daytime television viewers who saw him as one of the greatest interviewees of his generation.
“To be a celebrity and world-class athlete and to be diagnosed with cancer, but then to beat it and fight his way back to having an interview with Oprah Winfrey…and a great interview…He was a beacon of hope for all of us,” said cancer-survivor Lucinda McIntosh. “But now we find out that he was cheating during that whole interview.”
“I just want to know what I’m supposed to tell my kids,” lamented 38-year old mother of four Cheryl Beckler.
Armstrong offered somewhat of an explanation as part of his statement released through the Associated Press. “The immense pressure to have a good interview—to be witty, to sound smart, to not look nervous—it was just too much. I was afraid I couldn’t do it on my own, and I didn’t want to let my fans know, so I took shortcuts. I deeply apologize to everyone who believed in me.”
Long rated as one of the sports world’s best interviewees, Armstrong was once the most prolific and highest-rated talk-show guest in the bicycling world. For the last year or two, however, he had stayed mostly out of the public spotlight and rarely granted interviews, until his momentous, and now tarnished, comeback interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday.
Oprah could not be reached for comment. Several celebrities, however, gladly offered their reactions.
“If someone gives better interviews than I do, naturally, I’m fine with that,” said NBA legend and distinguished interviewee Shaquille O’Neal. “Shaqtus isn’t a sore loser. But if I find out he was cheating the whole time, I have to start wondering… How many interviews was he picked for over me? How many movie cameos did he get that I could have had? That role in Dodgeball? Hilarious. Would I have gotten it had we been on a level playing field? I’ll never know.”
“Interviews do hard. Lance Armstrong, like, good, dude,” commented Olympian Ryan Lochte.
Time will tell how this episode will affect Armstrong’s legacy. His quick apology seems like an attempt to gain public forgiveness, but it may take awhile for America to forgive the betrayal of its favorite interviewee.
– MFG ’14