Part one of Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong aired online and on Oprah’s cable channel OWN Thursday night — and Armstrong’s performance appeared to win over few critics on Twitter or Facebook.
After years of denials to authorities and the public, Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping prior to his 2008 comeback from retirement. However, he denied that he did so in 2009 and 2010. He also denied that he had applied any pressure to his Tour de France teammates to join him in doping, and said that he had felt that he was not cheating because he “looked the word up in the dictionary.”
Looking uncomfortable, shifting in his seat repeatedly and laughing nervously, Armstrong appeared to be having a hard time explaining the details. His apology to Emma O’Reilly, his former masseuse and a whistleblower whom Armstrong sued and admitted to calling a variety of epithets, was particularly tortured. (The cyclist chose to focus on denying that he had called O’Reilly “fat.”)
Armstrong admitted that he was a “jerk” and a “prick” at various points in the interview, and that saying sorry was not his forte. “All of this is a process for me,” the cyclist said. “I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize.”
On Twitter, the interview-related hashtags #OWNTV and #Doprah were trending topics, as was O’Reilly’s name. Users appeared incredulous at Armstrong’s answers:
Did you feel wrong? No. Did you feel bad? No. Did you think you were cheating? No.
— Emily Steel (@emilysteel) January 18, 2013
With this lack of remorse, Lance Armstrong could be the next spokesperson for the NRA.
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) January 18, 2013
After this, I bet #Lance is going to grab a drink with James Frey.
— Jason Feifer (@heyfeifer) January 18, 2013
As I understand it, after years of maintaining he was House Gryffindor, Lance Armstrong has admitted to being Slytherin all along.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) January 18, 2013
And at least one fellow celebrity was distinctly unimpressed:
Ruthless, lying, bullying, completely unprincipled, disloyal coward#Armstrong
— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) January 18, 2013
There was better news for Armstrong on his Facebook page. Though his post announcing the interview was filled with many vitriolic comments, it also received messages of support — and some fans pointing out that doping is a more widespread problem.
Want a taste of the interview? In this clip, Armstrong details the drugs he had taken, contrary to previous denials:
Did you watch the Armstrong interview? Let us know your reaction in the comments.
Screenshot courtesy OWN