F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” Nowhere does this quotation seem more apt than in the case of Lance Armstrong. On one side of the coin we have the hero: a brash and outspoken Texan who overcame stage 3 cancer and became the first seven-time Tour De France champion, a man who founded the Livestrong foundation that has raised over 470 million dollars worldwide to fight the disease that almost claimed his life, a man who made an entire sport relevant in the United States. On the other side of the coin, we see a man who has gone through a divorce, a man who has harshly and vehemently attacked every critic time and time again, a man who many believe only achieved his Tour victories through the use of performance enhancing drugs. His world appears to be crumbling all around him. His seven Tour de France titles have been stripped, he has resigned from the Livestrong Foundation he founded amid public pressure, his sponsors have largely abandoned him, and lawsuits by former critics that Lance Armstrong himself helped disgrace seem imminent. Lance Armstrong is still there but we are left with one question. What is the truth about Lance Armstrong?
“You see everything in black or white.”-Ritter
“Not black or white, right or wrong.” –Jack Ryan
“The world is gray.” -Ritter
-Quotes from the movie Clear and Present Danger
The question cannot be answered. Lance Armstrong is a complicated creature whose life does not fit neatly into either right or wrong. What do I expect from the Oprah Winfrey/Lance Armstrong interview? I expect we will get some answers, but you’re never going to know exactly what Lance was thinking or doing all those years ago. There is an ancient Chinese proverb that reads, “life is a piece of paper upon which every person leaves a mark.” One would expect not to have all the answers. Interesting people lead interesting lives. When you take big risks, your mistakes and faults are displayed on a global scale. Lance Armstrong has touched and been touched by millions of people. We are certainly not going to understand everything in a 90 minute taped interview, but it should be very interesting.