THERE’S NO QUESTION what the hot topic in the world of sport is at the moment.
Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah, which is being recorded today and will be broadcast on Thursday, is a subject that has been obsessed over of late by the world’s media.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to collect some of the most cogent and interesting perspectives from the great and the good in the world of journalism.
The Guardian reports that 2008 Olympic road race champion Nicole Cooke has had a dig at the cyclist amid her retirment from the sport.
She is quoted as saying: “I am so very fortunate to have been able to have won clean. I have been robbed by drug cheats, but I am fortunate, I am here before you with more in my basket than the 12-year-old dreamed of. But for many genuine people out there who do ride clean, people with morals, many of these people have had to leave the sport with nothing after a lifetime of hard work.
“When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward.”
In the same paper, Hadley Freeman describes Oprah as the “safe choice for Armstrong”.
She adds: “When Michael Jackson, the former sprinter Marion Jones and countless less starry but no less remorseful Americans have sought public redemption, they have all turned to Oprah Winfrey. So it is entirely in keeping with this, if not noble then at least long-running tradition that for his first TV interview since the alleged doping scandal, Lance Armstrong has sent, not the Bat Signal, but the Oprah Winfrey Signal. It’s a light that bathes the sky in a sudsy, soppy and occasionally saccharine glow.”
Meawhile, writing for The Daily Beast, columnist Buzz Bissinger has retracted an infamous column he wrote last August, in which he stated that he still believed Armstrong was “innocent” of all doping charges.
“My cover story about Lance Armstrong, my affirmation of faith, was the worst piece of opinion I have ever written. I did a disservice to myself. More important I did a disservice to readers. I did believe what I wrote at the time. I do believe in staking out strong positions. We all do as columnists today, because of the world we live in, craving to differentiate ourselves from the thousands who populate the Internet every hour.”
Moreover, long-form opinion pieces aren’t the only place to find thoughtful analysis of the situation.
In addition to his much-discussed open letter to Oprah, which he subsequently chose to advertise in the Chicago Tribune, Sunday Times journalist David Walsh’s Twitter account includes a series of insightful remarks about the cyclist. For instance, the long-time Armstrong critic writes:
“If LA had confessed USADA would have used Statute of Limitation to allow him to keep first five Tours. How he must rue that decision now!”
Similarly, Paul Kimmage is another journalist who has had his run-ins with Armstrong in the past, and his Twitter account is also a consistent source of interest on the matter.
Last week, he made one of his more light-hearted comments, revealing:
“@BrianODriscoll is wrecking my head. Sat him down yesterday and told him confession was good for the soul…and he spent two hours talking about Oprah and Lance Armstrong!”
In addition, The Washington Post claims that Armstrong today “made a series of phone calls to apologise directly to key people in the cycling community with whom he had not been truthful about his part in sports doping”.
And The Associated Press reports that the cyclist will make only a “limited confession,” while USA Today suggests that Armstrong will defend himself by saying his offence was committed “in an era when doping was the norm”.
(An unidentified man enters a gate at the home of cyclist Lance Armstrong, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Austin, Texas. After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong was set to sit down Monday for what has been trumpeted as a “no-holds barred,” 90-minute, question-and-answer session with Oprah Winfrey – AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Furthermore, AFP report that “journalists staked out the Texas home of Lance Armstrong on Monday ahead of an interview with Oprah Winfrey during which the disgraced cyclist is reportedly planning to admit to doping.
“Reporters, photographers and TV crews took up positions across the street from Armstrong’s opulent Austin home, which is surrounded by an eight-foot-high (2.4-meter) stone wall.
“There was no sign by mid-day of Oprah or Armstrong.”
The Observer, meanwhile, took a a decidedly intellectual view of the situation, invoking Shakespeare among others, amid its take on the disgraced athlete:
“Shakespeare nails the issue in The Winter’s Tale. The crux is this: does salvation come through human repentance or the mercy of God? King Leontes recognises that “a thousand knees, ten thousand years together” (a lot of praying) will not save him. It’s not enough to appeal to a higher power (either God or Oprah). It’s only when the king confronts himself and admits “I am ashamed” that the frozen statue of his queen, Hermione, comes to life and he, too, is regenerated. “O, she’s warm,” exclaims Leontes, expressing his late salvation in one of Shakespeare’s most heartbreaking lines.”
In the Guardian, Barney Ronay brought his usual wit to the subject, parodying David Walsh’s ten questions to Armstrong, with one of the most hilarious queries being:
“1. Have the past few months been crazy, emotional, frightening and full of lots of scandalous – truly scandalous – lies that sadly you can’t talk about right now for legal reasons?”
And finally, Buzzfeed have been drawing attention to this cringeworthy video of Armstrong consistently denying doping allegations in the past:
YouTube credit: Andrew Gauthier·