Famed cyclist and steroid-user Lance Armstrong is set to give his first interview since being stripped of his Tour de France titles on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network Thursday and Friday nights. In preparation of the event, OWN has released a (very) short preview of the interview.
While the interview has yet to air, sources that have watched it can confirm that the fallen athletic idol admits to cheating and using performance-enhancing drugs.
CNN cites multiple reports from an unnamed source who confirmed that Armstrong does indeed admit to doping. It’s big news for fans of Armstrong, who vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs even as the Tour de France was preparing to strip him of his titles.
But will this admission of guilt earn back any of the goodwill that Armstrong lost? It’s hard to tell, but if he handles the admission with humility, a good portion of Americans might be willing to forgive him. Everyone loves a comeback story, after all. And it seems Armstrong is banking on that.
Many journalists, publicists, and critics are of the opinion that Armstrong’s Oprah interview is just the first step on a long-term plan to regain favor in the public eye. It seems that rather than shy away from the public, he hopes to earn back some of his lost goodwill and continue working with his cancer charity Livestrong.
“His strategy is long-term,” USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer writes of Armstrong’s plan to get back in the public eye. “Armstrong does not expect to regain sponsors any time soon by confessing. He also doesn't expect to resume his athletic career any time soon after being banned for life. He doesn't even expect to sign a book deal right away, though there will be offers.”
Schrotenboer’s piece also cited several interviews with public relations specialists unconnected to Armstrong’s doping case. All seemed to agree that the former cycling champion is working on mounting a comeback, but that it could be especially tricky to pull off.
OWN has released a 16-second preview of the interview, and while it doesn’t give away any hard-hitting details (Oprah would never sabotage the chance for higher ratings), it does promise that the interview will delve into deep questions, promising a “no-holds-barred” conversation.
Watch the preview for the Oprah/Lance Armstrong interview below.