Smug Armstrong's Lying Inspires Hatred

Smug Armstrong's Lying Inspires Hatred

After last week's big confession, I've got one of my own to make: Over the many articles I've written over the last 10 years about Lance Armstrong, I've never quite understood the near-worship that surrounded him.

This might be because, like most American sportswriters, I don't know a thing about professional bike racing. I couldn't name a single pro racer before Armstrong, and I doubt if I'll remember the names of any who come after him. He was a superstar champion, and allegations—now shown to be true—against him related to performance-enhancing drugs had parallels in other sports. That's why I paid any attention to him, and I suspect I'm not the only one.

But it took me until part two of Oprah's interview with Armstrong to truly get why so many Americans, many of whom don't seem to care much about racing either, cared much more deeply about him. It was only then that I began to appreciate the profundity of his betrayal. And so while going on TV to confess was obviously intended to begin an image-rehabilitation campaign, Armstrong minted at least one new detractor in the process. I'll bet there are others.

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