Lance & Oprah. A few thoughts before the SHOW!
Welcome to the the Twisted Spoke, All Armstrong, All Week Extravaganza. Race previews for San Luis, Qatar and Oman — who needs that meaningless crap? This is “No Holds Barred” and Oprah has her boxing gloves on. (Which seems like the wrong metaphor for dealing with a cyclist but right for dealing with Lance.)
This is Greek tragedy, Reality TV, The Greatest Sports Story Ever Destroyed. The Boss is finally squawking and the UCI kings are about to topple.
And by the way, this is why TV people can’t keep secrets? Within hours of Oprah Winfrey grilling Armstrong, there were bigger leaks than the Titanic. Maybe it was one of Armstrong’s team but leaks only goose the TV ratings even more.
Leaks are the promos of the business and Oprah was instantly on the Morning Show, telling everybody the material is so juicy she had to make the confessional into a two part Lance-apolooza. That’s right — on Next Chapter Lance gets Two Chapters. Chapeau former Postal star!
Now Lance got pretty huffy with USADA’s Travis Tygart during their Denver Airport meeting, saying only he was in charge of his “redemption.” (Actually Lance was in charge of his blind decent into Hell.) But Oprah is essentially in charge of his return to humanity and whatever bounce-back he gets after hitting rock bottom.
And just as a double aside, Troll #1 David Walsh said the other day that Lance had analytical intelligence but no emotional intelligence. This is why he made his disastrous mistake with the Mad Mennonite Floyd Landis and why he turned down the excellent deal Tygart offered — keep five or your seven Tour victories. Ego lost him all seven and you know few things kill him more than the phrase “Greg Lemond, only American Tour de France winner.”
But we digress. In American tabloid pop culture, redemption, ratings and forgiveness are all scripted for the audience. That’s why Oprah is the perfect choice for Not-So-Mellow Johnny.
It’s no surprise that Oprah and Armstrong are both self-made multi-millionaires raised by single moms. Both faced hard times and financial hardship but fought their way out of Plano, Texas and rural Mississippi. They’re leaders, play the media game well and wield enormous power. She feels his primal pain, empathizes with his whatever-it-takes attitude in escaping humble circumstances. Oprah’s line is Live Your Best Life –and Oprah — not Lance — still is.
You have to appreciate the media context that Armstrong has chosen. Look at the other episodes in her Next Chapter show, besides the man formerly known as Boss. You’ve got Life Lessons he learned from grandma with Jamie Foxx, a chit-chat with Bette Milder, the truth about Lady Gaga’s metal dress and media slut Kim Kardashian serving up another helping of pointless crap, in this case her relationship with rapper Kayne West. Lance is just another celeb trying to get stay in the light somehow, someway.
The only leak that mattered was that Armstrong plans to testify against the top officials in the sport — which can only be taken as former UCI president Hein Verbruggen and current hack Patric McQuaid — he of the two Armstrong “gift-bribes.”
McQuaid was already on the ropes but should Lance deliver even one incriminating piece of evidence under oath detailing the doping corruption within the UCI, Pat will be booted out of UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. (And Pat once thought his biggest problem was unemployed Irish journalist Paul Kimmage.)
Twisted Spoke can’t wait to watch Lance Armstrong “met” his maker. Nope, sorry, got that wrong — met his moment.