Unmasked villain lacked sincerity

WARWICK RASMUSSEN
Last updated 09:02 22/01/2013

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OPINION: The world watched Lance Armstrong's extraordinary televised "confession" over the weekend for a whole raft of reasons.

Some wanted to see for themselves the one-time king of cycling confess to more than a decade of lying about doping. Others wanted to know the details and see the dirt dished. Some people watched just to see if this iron-willed, hero-turned-villain would shed a tear.

And, of course, there was a massive group of people so disgusted by his lies and betrayal that they simply couldn't stomach watching and listening to him for 2 hours with talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey.

In essence, the interview was something of a freak show. The fall from grace of someone once beloved, now maligned. It was also a paradox, as it offered everything and nothing at the same time.

Armstrong finally confessed to living a lie for so long - even though he was probably the last person in the world to articulate it.

He came across as controlled and deliberate, with moments when his fierce determination shone through. He said a lot of the right things, but certainly lacked sincerity.

He repeatedly referred to the mea culpa as "a process", a term that lacks any emotion, comes across as robotic and helps distance his actions from the major harm that he has caused people.

Whatever your stance on Armstrong, the interview was an event, a rare moment that many people talk about and all have an opinion on.

So, where to from here for Armstrong? Does he have any right to compete in any sport or should he just slink off into obscurity?

It's unlikely he'll be able to do either but he may be able to trade off his notoriety on a speaking circuit once the dust on this chapter has settled. That's if there's even an audience out there for him.

Sitting through the Oprah interview must have been tough going for the once-invincible Armstrong. He had been so used to living the lie, and now it had finally all caught up with him.

He had always been so used to being victorious, but this was certainly a no-win situation for him.

Sport is such a fickle beast. Just as the Black Caps' mire couldn't get any stickier, the under-siege team delivered a rare win in South Africa - only their third ever there in the one-day format. After a month or so with nothing but bad news and results, the ODI unit came back from the dead and delivered against the No 1 team in the world, just as fans had all but given up on them.

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- Manawatu Standard

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