Oprah Winfrey’s recent two-part interview with Lance Armstrong was viewed by an estimated 28 million viewers around the world on television and online platforms. The interview played in 190 countries, including Australia, France, Belgium and South Africa, and in 30 languages. It is believed that the interview will provide a major fillip to Winfrey’s Oprah Winfrey Network. She had to wait for a couple of months before Armstrong agreed to the interview. They met at Winfrey’s vacation home in Hawaii over the Christmas holidays, and the interview was taped over two days in a hotel suite in Austin, Texas.
During the interview, among the major revelations was Armstrong admitting publicly for the first time that he doped throughout his cycling career. He revealed that all seven of his Tour de France victories were fuelled by doping, that he never felt bad about cheating, and that he had covered up a positive drug test at the 1999 Tour with a backdated doctor’s prescription for banned cortisone.
According to Winfrey, she chose to be non-judgmental and have no agenda for the interview. She claims to have even prayed and meditated prior to it.
However, Winfrey, many believe, was too soft on the cyclist, with her interview resembling more a therapy session than an inquisition. She was able to elicit emotions from him, but failed to ask critical questions. He was not asked who helped him dope or cover up his drug use, or why he chose to take banned performance-enhancing substances even after he was diagnosed with cancer. After the interview, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency which is investigating his case claimed that Armstrong had not been completely open or truthful. According to him, he needs to reveal more details and testify under oath.