Lance to Oprah: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Finally, the truth came out in a very scripted, overly hyped interview that aired Thursday night on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network.
If you didn't watch Lance Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey or couldn’t find it on satellite or cable, note that it reached its peak in the first two minutes when she asked him straight out about doping and lying. He admitted to all of the above, each time with a "yes."
The rest of the interview? Anticlimactic.
Winfrey and the fledging OWN network did a great job of touting the interview, complete with a countdown ticker and full-page ads in newspapers across the country telling people where they could tune in.
As the interview shifted to the details of what Armstrong did and when, the punch was gone. Armstrong kept the conversation tame and confusing by throwing out dates and giving non-answers with what were planned duck-and-dodge messages.
As with most TV events, the interview was enhanced by following along on Twitter. No single, real hashtag developed for the interview, but robust conversation could be found with the witty #Doprah
Some of the more common Twitter takes included:
Sports writer Adam Proteau: “Lance Armstrong says he's 'now out of the business of lying to people,' but will continue pursuing it as a hobby.”
New Zealander Guy Williams: “Lance Armstrong's admission is making my ‘Lance is innocent’ stance more difficult but I'm sticking to my guns.”
PR prank account Death Star PR: “BREAKING: Lance Armstrong admits he took banned substances. EQUALLY SHOCKING: Darth Vader admits he's Luke Skywalker's father.”
CNN’s Piers Morgan: “So it's official - @lancearmstrong is the worst lying, doping cheat in the history of sport. #LiveWrong.”
Entreprenuer Nathan Hangen: “Wondering if I'm the only one not bothered by Lance Armstrong's confession.
The admissions aside, other highlights included Armstrong admitting he would win at all costs, and his answer to whether he was a bully.
“Uhhhhh, Yeah. Yeah, I was a bully,” he said in his nervous monotone.
Also, jaw-dropping moment was Armstrong’s admission that he and his legal team had sued so many people that he lost track. The comment spurred professional cyclist Frank Cundiff
to tweet: “you got sued, and you got sued, everyone got sued..... #doprah,” playing off Winfrey's famous car giveaway.
New York photographer Ashley Hord
summed up the general response to the interview in this tweet: “shut up you cheated and failed every test i hate you #doprah.”
Do you think the interview helped or further damaged Armstrong's image?
Gil Rudawsky heads the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. He is a former reporter and editor. Read his blog or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.