Commentary

Here's to hoping Lance Armstrong's confession speeds along our divorce from him

mmccombs@islandpacket.comJanuary 13, 2013 

Sometime Monday, Lance Armstrong will sit down at his home in Texas with the queen of television, Oprah Winfrey, and what he will say is a foregone conclusion, according to numerous media outlets, including The Associated Press.

According to the AP, citing a "person with knowledge of the situation," Armstrong will answer questions "directly, honestly and candidly" during the interview to be taped for broadcast Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

That will apparently include an apology and a "limited confession to using performance-enhancing drugs."

Once upon a time, Armstrong was a glimmer of hope in a sports world where, like the rest of society, it has become harder to find heroes worthy of our adoration.

Diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs, not only did Armstrong come back, he came back stronger than anyone had before, winning seven Tour de France titles in dominating fashion.

But we know now, it was all a lie.

It's not a surprise, though. We've known for a while, even before he was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling.

There have long been rumors and allegations of Armstrong's doping. Heck, the Europeans, particularly the French, have been screaming it from the mountaintops since 1999.

So why now? Why the contrition?

Conscience? I doubt it.

Quite simply, it's about image control.

Armstrong's legacy is gone, wiped out by one of the most well-oiled cheating machines ever seen in sport. Armstrong's teammates and fellow American riders like Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie have either been caught cheating or shown to be complicit.

Cycling, a sport already wracked by doping, has seen an entire era simply washed away with Armstrong's accomplishments, not unlike the mid- to late 1990s and early 2000s in baseball may be because of steroids, if last week's Hall of Fame vote is any indication. An era to forget.

And no matter what he says, his career in cycling is finished.

No, Armstrong's sudden willingness to talk isn't about coming clean. If it were, he'd stand up and take all questions. He doesn't want to get burned at the stake, he just wants to get warm. That's why he chose Oprah.

He's the cheating husband who knows he's been caught. He's not being honest in an effort to save his marriage or out of respect for his spouse.

He simply needs to get it of his chest to feel better about himself, and maybe by doing so, he feels somebody, anybody might believe he's not the louse the past decade-plus of orchestrated deception, cheating and lying have proven him to be.

To his credit, the one positive remnant of Armstrong's career has been his LiveStrong Foundation, which to date, has raised more than $470 million for the fight against cancer, according to its website.

Perhaps that's his goal, to try and ensure that when people see all of those little yellow bracelets, they think only of the friends and relatives they know fighting cancer and the cause, not of the fraud perpetrated on the rest of the world to further it.

In that respect, it would be good if Monday's chat with Oprah is, at least on some level, a success.

Otherwise, I hope this is simply the last deposition in our messy divorce with Lance Armstrong.

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