Disgraced Armstrong says he ‘deserves’ to compete again

Zeenews Sports Bureau

Texas: Lance Armstrong says he “deserves” the chance to make a return to competitive sports in spite of his years of cheating and lying in the second and final part of his interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired earlier today.

Armstrong already confessed to taking performance enhancing drugs in each of his 7 Tour de France title wins in the first part of the interview which aired yesterday. Today’s half focused on him as a family man and the brand that he’s created around him.

He began by admitting that the “most humbling moment” was having to step down from his role at Livestrong, the cancer foundation he founded: “To make that decision to step aside – that was big. I wouldn’t at all say ‘forced out’; I was aware of the pressure, but it hurt like hell!”

Shown an old 2005 clip of him denouncing anyone taking drugs in the sport, Armstrong winced in expertly, before saying: “That is a guy who thought he was invincible. That guy is still there. I’m not going to lie to you or the public. I’m in therapy.”

Then, in an incredibly naive statement of absurdly self-centred proportions he added that he “deserves” to compete again, even if it’s in other sports: “I’d like to run the Chicago marathon when I’m 50. I deserve to be punished, but I’m not sure I deserve a death penalty.”

The disgraced former cyclist then became increasingly repetitive and starting circling around the questions with answers that added nothing new.

“Do I have remorse?” he said rhetorically, “Absolutely. Will I continue to grow? Absolutely. These are the first steps. I’m paying the price, but I deserve it.”

He also admitted that all this hadn’t really changed him, in spite of the apology and all: “I’d be lying if I said that it had.” He also called it a continuing process, getting more and more vague.

The much-hyped tears from Armstrong finally emerge while talking about what effect it’s had on his son, who has continuously defended him through all the controversy and taunts.

“He never asked me ‘Dad, is this true?’. He just trusted me. (...) And I told Luke ‘Don’t defend me anymore.’ Some kid says something, don’t defend me. Just say ‘Hey, my dad says he’s sorry’.”

When asked what the motive of this interview was, Armstrong admitted that he’d like to compete again, but doubts it’ll realistically happen.

The interview winds towards a close as Armstrong admits that he doesn’t really know if he can come back from this: “When I was diagnosed I was a better human being after that. I was a smarter human being after that. But then I lost my way. It`s easy for me to say I`m a better, smarter man today, but I can`t lose my way again. It`s an epic challenge.”

Oprah, in her typical style, ended the session with words that Lance’s ex-wife Kristen told him in 2009: “The truth will set you free.”

The reaction across the international media and various social networks is that people are rather disappointed; not particularly by Lance Armstrong’s admission, which was long anticipated in any case, but by the lack of incisiveness in the interview. Oprah, understandably, stuck to what she does best, gathering emotions and weaving a story around the person. The audience, meanwhile, were expecting details and hard facts, which Armstrong expertly avoided.

The popular opinion is that Armstrong appears to be manipulative and calculated and the viewers failed to trust him at all. Oprah even called him a “sociopath” during the session, and Armstrong admitted it, adding the term “narcissistic”. That about summed up what people felt of the former inspirational cycling legend.

Massive fall-outs are expected following this interview and it remains to be seen whether Armstrong will later make a statement under oath as well.

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