Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lance Armstrong

With all due respect and without prejudice I am not sure why Lance Armstrong  was launched into a media event and wasn't in front of some tribunal or court so I'll ask the question again - what sort of culture are we trying to teach here? What messages do we wish to send out about our culture and what are we thinking people will learn from it?
I liked the way Oprah conducted the interview. I am not a fan of hers as such but I respect her because she was the one who got off her bottom and did something for the people of New Orleans when Katrina hit, the levees broke and they were just left there for days to fend for themselves. Oprah was the one who got some good change going and galvanised the nation into action. It still came as a surprise to me that Lance Armstrong would be interviewed by her and then there was so much hype around it. So I watched as much as I could stomach which was where it was at for me. The yes/no at the beginning was powerful and clarified some things in black and white. She has since been taken to task for not pushing through on detail. Why should she? As she asked the questions we got to see how he managed them and responded. She put facts before him and asked him questions and then we saw what Lance Armstrong said and did. Had she done more we might have been playing another ball game, the goal posts might have shifted and it might have become quite a different matter. As it stood we saw what he was prepared to do and say without interference. That to me is a good interviewer. When she asked him about how it was actually done - and she did  ask that more than once because she asked him to walk her through how these things were done - he avoided the answer. He could not respond. As she said things she dropped in some information to make him aware that she was well in control of her facts and therefore the interview. Every so often there was a shadow over his face where you could see he acknowledged that and was a bit surprised at the extent of her knowledge and her capacity to speak the truth about the situation. At one stage she asked about the syringes in Coke cans and the fans outside and there was quite an upheaval inside of him. I thought he was going to get angry and I thought he could understand just how disgusting that image was. He passed over that one too and no, she didn't come back to it because her job was done.
So I wonder what this is about. People have since questioned the sport and cyclists. Lance Armstrong was saying it was the culture and others were involved but said no more. So, if that were the case there will be people who know he knows and I guess that gives him control ,which is what he likes from what he has said, because he has owned up. They haven't. They will know he knows.  There has even been a suggestion that cycling be pulled from the Olympic games and that all cyclists are now under suspicion. I don't think so. I think we need to stop the wrongdoer as victim mentality right now. While we are paying attention to him we are forgetting all the cyclists and sports people who get it right. We are forgetting some good people would have been involved knowing this was happening and still giving it their best anyway because of the love of the sport. As we focus on him we forget we have winners who never got their moment nor their medal. There are aspiring cyclists who have the right to aspire.
We have the Anna Mears, the Cadell Evans, the Stuart O'Gradys and the Amy Gilletts - Amy lived for cycling and her memory and good she can do is kept alive because of her love of and dedication to cycling. Lance Armstrong is never going to get it right because he has got it so wrong. Anyone else who is uncovered will have also got it wrong. The sport didn't get it wrong and  nor have the others who have worked hard to achieve fitness and goal levels. They have a right to continue to do that. There are families out on the street in Adelaide right now looking to see their cycling stars and the awesomeness of a pack of superfit  and dedicated cyclists in the Tour Downunder. Those cyclists in the world who are getting it / have got it wrong need to be sorted out. The rest need to cheered on, praised and rewarded.