Armstrong misses opportunity to right wrongs

Whoever is advising Lance Armstrong ahead of the rare interviews he gives must be having a tough time.

The disgraced cyclist rarely speaks about the misdemeanours which tarnished the already-damaged sport of cycling or what he is doing to make things right.

Remember, this is the man who lived the lie that he had won countless Tour de France races after recovering from cancer, enjoying the admiration of millions for turning adversity into triumph.

While rumours always abounded, it took a US Anti-Doping Agency investigation before Armstrong finally admitted the “one big lie” that he had raced clean after years of denials.

In the two years since Armstrong first admitted that he was a drug cheat, it seems as if little has changed in his outlook.

In a compelling interview with the BBC this week, he had an opportunity to start addressing those who consider him to have tarnished not only cycling but the world of professional sport in general.

What became clear early on was that Armstrong still sees himself as the victim in all this.

Yes, he apologised for some of his heavy handed tactics towards others during his competitive career. But, then he qualified his cheating by suggesting that everyone else was doing it – so he had no choice if he was to compete on a level playing field.

He then declared that if he could go back in time 20 years, he would dope again in the same position, suggesting little remorse for his actions or the damage he has done.

Tellingly, he also speaks about how tough life has been for him as he is a victim rather than as someone who shaped his own downfall.

He talks about the sadness of having to walk away from his own charity, but then contradicts that remorse by stating that the era of his success led to the growth of cycling as an industry.

At Calacus, we always advise our clients to be transparent and honest whenever they do interviews, accepting any wrong-doing and trying to atone for their misdemeanours, if applicable.

Armstrong wants to be forgiven despite showing little sign of regret and the way he delivers his answers in what is an in-depth interview, does little to provoke sympathy.

He does not understand that to follow a cheating crowd just to ensure you can compete does not resonate with the majority of fans, who believe sport should be clean and fair.

Armstrong had the opportunity to take control of both the interview and the situation he has found himself in by apologising without qualification; vowing to co-operate with the authorities to further assist with their investigation; and to express sincere regret for not having the courage to stand up against doping when he was competing.

The BBC interview was a great opportunity for Armstrong to start the process of moving on, of making amends and addressing the criticisms which have followed him for a long time.

Sadly, Armstrong focuses on what he has lost rather than the implications of his actions and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to sympathise or trust whatever he has to say.