Controlling the Narrative (Part 1) #Armstrong

RtoP 1I watched Part 1 of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Lance Armstrong.

The ninety minute program was broadcast today on the Discovery Channel in Australia (1pm – 2.30pm).

After the Yes/No questions that started the program, out of the whole conversation I was hooked by the “controlling narrative” exchanges. These included a late-in-the-interview mention of George Hincapie.

The key to the Lance Armstrong story for me has always hinged on George.

In 2001, when my son, Sam, and I were resting between canoe slalom sessions in Bratislava, we watched what we thought was a remarkable story of commitment and determination, the Road to Paris. 4m 50s into the video, Lance Armstrong states “the only thing we have taken is a bunch of hard work”. We felt that would be a great motto for our training particularly after seeing Lance climbing in the Alps and trying to ford flooded rivers. Sam was 16 at that time.

We watched every Tour de France thereafter.

GeorgeIn the Road to Paris, Lance Armstrong speaks with immense pride about George’s performance in the 2001 Paris-Roubaix race. Without any knowledge of the sport at that time it seemed to us that the bond between the two of them was very special.

After George Hincapie’s ‘revelations’, I read the USADA’s Reasoned Decision very carefully shortly after it was released in October 2010. At that moment I felt a profound sadness.

Today’s interview filled me with even more sadness. I had been controlled in the narrative … out of naivety and fervent hope. I wondered how those who were bullied and attacked were feeling.

A different kind of narrative is taking place on Twitter at #Armstrong.

Postscript

BBC Sport published this transcript of the Part 1 interview.

Photo Credits

Frame Grabs from Road to Paris

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