Until 60 Minutes called into question the very truthfulness of Lance Armstrong’s Oprah interview we were focused mainly on a) his lack of affect, insufficient wearing of sackcloth and ashes and b) that his appearance was a ploy to obtain forgiveness and re-gain permission to officially compete in some sanctioned sporting events. Here is what I wrote before 60 Minutes made everything Armstrong suspect.
On a self-awareness scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most aware of one’s true self, he’s probably reached a 3 and has spent most of his life as a 1 or 2.
That attack dog intensity and minimum crocodile tears, I believe, make Lance, Lance. He can’t, for now, be more introspective when he never has been. I think that’s the real guy and whether he becomes more empathetic and truly owns up to his innate cheating and bullying is anyone’s guess. I think too that the real guy did the interview and with calculation (he owned up to it).
He reminds me of people we all have known who refuse to see themselves as others see them, unapologetically (often combatively) live on their terms, refuse to examine their inner selves and never change. It is not in their psychological makeup. And if you don’t like it, tough!
In Armstrong’s case that personality obviously fueled the win-at-any-cost elite competitor that he was. That is NOT an apologia for his actions, just an observation.
His professional way out of this mess is time and life-long good works. As dying Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan said to the rescued Ryan, “Earn this…earn it.” Armstrong has to merit redemption. His personal escape is more problematic with such a tightly-wound personality. You know what they say about changing a leopard’s spots.
Mary McCarthy once wrote, “We are the hero of our own story.” It’s a shame a cancer-surviving gifted athlete who started a nonprofit generating $500 million to fight the disease and who is clearly a supreme competitor had to cheat and attack to ensure he was the hero.