Armstrong Seeks ‘Pathway To Redemption’

Lance Armstrong is banking on “The Oprah effect” after being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life. The cyclist is believed to be giving this interview to get back his life, sponsors, career, and public image on the track.

If the American former professional road racing cyclist makes a confession, there may be legal consequences, involving past and present civil cases and possibly perjury.

Veteran Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman, Vice-chairman of of Reputation.com, remarked Oprah Winfrey is not flying down to Austin, the home of Lance Armstrong, and airing a prime time special for hearing another denial of drug use from the cyclist. Bragman, who has known Winfrey for 30 years, said the interview is the art of a very sophisticated PR effort to get a confession out there and change hearts and minds.

Meanwhile, Le Figaro’s sports editor Martin Couturier believes that the retired cyclist will use the interview to save face with the American public while legal analyst Christopher Mesnooh says any decision by Lance Armstrong to break his silence about his lifetime cycling ban may bring fresh legal challenges for him. Celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, author of the New York Times bestseller “Oprah: A Biography,” speculated that the 41-year-old cyclist may use the interview with emphatic Oprah to shift the spotlight back to his Livestrong cancer charity. Kelly remarked that it will be difficult for Lance to admit to doping and added that Oprah will have to give him full marks for what he’s done for kids (with cancer).

Chicago ad executive James Lou in the CNBC television documentary “The Oprah Effect,” remarked that the beauty of the talk show host is that she is able to be an icon and very, very approachable and very real at the same time. The studio sofa of Oprah Winfrey has been the go-to place for celebrities to bare their feelings before a boisterous live audience.

In another development, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency spoke on US television program “60 Minutes Sports” and revealed that Armstrong recently met him to explore a “pathway to redemption.” In an interview that aired recently, USADA CEO Travis Tygart did not discuss the meeting on camera and offered no details. The New York Times reported last week that the cyclist and Tygart had been meeting about a possible confession. Tygart during the show detailed his mission to investigate Armstrong, calling the the refusal of the cyclist to help in the probe “one of the lowest days of this investigation, quite honestly.” Tygart also said in the interview that a representative of Armstrong approached USADA in 2004 with an offer of a donation of more than $150,000.

USADA released a 200-page report last October detailing the doping program Armstrong ran and the USADA CEO called it “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” Armstrong in addition to having his seven Tour de France titles stripped was banned for life from competing, which makes him ineligible for triathlons and other events sanctioned by USADA or the World Anti-Doping Agency.

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