It was with a heavy dose of predictability that the country waited to hear Oprah interview Lance Armstrong on Thursday night. We knew he was going to admit that he was doping. He prepared the world for this weeks ago, though there was speculation that he might reveal more. When asked by Oprah variations on the theme of whether he took banned substances, Armstrong answered with the one word that didn’t cycle through his vocabulary over the years: “Yes”.
The most entertaining part of the interview was when Armstrong told Oprah that he had looked up the word “cheat” in the dictionary and was pleased to see he didn’t fit the definition of “gaining an advantage on a rival or foe” since everyone was doping at the time.
The interview was everything everyone said it would be: an admission of guilt and a marketing and PR coup for Oprah’s OWN network, which hasn’t gotten this much attention since never. Maybe in the second part of the interview Friday night, Armstrong will apologize directly to his fans, family, friends, sponsors and business associates. The word “sorry” was buried in the interview when he said: “I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. I’m sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I’m sorry for that.” “I’m sorry for the that” is different than “I’m sorry.” These are words that defy the accused; they are curiously hard to utter when the spotlight shines on them. And they are words that have more mileage than any Tour de France.
Armstrong should have led the conversation with those two words.
— Diane Schwartz