The first part of Oprah Winfrey’s groundbreaking interview with Lance Armstrong aired Thursday night to mixed reaction. Winfrey came out swinging, and exceeded expectations in her tough line of questioning, and though Armstrong answered some questions, he avoided others, and his answers, at times, seemed far from complete, or even truthful. Below we analyze both — questions answered and unanswered ahead of Friday night’s airing of part two.
Was he believable?
Yes and no. With Winfrey opening on five tough “yes or no” doping questions from the start, Armstrong initially appeared ready to be transparent, admitting to all forms of doping during her rapid-fire opening round of questions. However, early on he claimed he hadn’t read Tyler Hamilton’s book, “The Secret Race,” which is impossible to believe. Armstrong was a world-class liar for 15 years. Not only has Armstrong read Hamilton’s book, every one of his lawyers has as well. Bet on it.
What was Armstrong’s most believable statement?
“The story is so bad, and so toxic, and a lot of it is true.” An understatement.
What was Armstrong’s least believable statement?
That he hadn’t read Hamilton’s book was the most unbelievable; however, his claim that he had not doped during his 2009 and 2010 comeback was a much bigger unbelievable claim.
“The last time I crossed ‘that line’ was in 2005,” Armstrong said, referring to his seventh and last Tour de France win.
However, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has claimed that his biological passport data from those years was “fully consistent with blood doping,” something Australian anti-doping scientist Michael Ashenden also stated last year.
And during the 2009 Tour, blood-doping kits were found in a search of medical equipment from Armstrong’s Astana team, revealing seven different genetic profiles. If Armstrong is lying about his comeback, it has everything to do his need to outlast the statute of limitations, which is eight years for USADA, conveniently the same amount of time between now and his last Tour win. It remains to be seen whether the criminal statute of limitations has elapsed, but the Department of Justice, reportedly in negotiations with Armstrong over testimony and restitution, could still join in the federal whistleblower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis. It had not done so before the interview aired on Thursday.