Movies: The Armstrong Lie

The Armstrong Lie

The Armstrong Lie

When I was a kid, I had cheated on a test in high school and my parents found out.

Well, I had told them.

After I had spent about an hour or so, seated on my legs, my parents refused to speak to me. My mother spoke to me after three days. My father, after a week.

So needless to say, I take the question of lying very seriously.

I was a staunch supporter of Lance Armstrong. There are posts on this blog where I have supported him but as the proof came out and the interview with Oprah was aired, I had to admit that yes, I too bought into the beautiful lie.

“The Armstrong Lie” was originally to be a documentary on the much-awaited come-back of Lance Armstrong but as the allegations, trials and interviews came out, there was no way the director of the movie, Alex Gibney, was going to distribute the feel-good movie he originally intended on putting out.

It is a lie that Gibney still does not forgive Armstrong for.

Much of the documentary is stuff the cycling aficionado now know but what was interesting was the fact that Armstrong gave an interview to the man who he lied to and who documented his life for all those years. What you see is the brazen bravado of a man desperately trying to cover up his lie and even as he rolls out layers of truth, there are aspects he still cannot admit even to himself.

It is a lie which consumed him, body and soul and so much so that he still has not admitted to a conversation he had in a hospital room with a former teammate, Frankie Andreu, and his wife, Betsy. A conversation which was said to be the starting point of it all.

At this point, many agree that admitting to that conversation does not matter in light of all the allegations and lawsuits but I feel it goes a little further than that. In my mind, I see a person who sees that conversation as the final thread that would unbind the massive tome that was the core of his universe for so long. There is fear at knowing what will be seen when the last truth is told and the book is gone for good.

Was I stupid for having believed Armstrong?

Yes.

I fell in love with the idea of a man who fought the odds to become one of the greatest cycling legends of all time. I wanted to believe because in a way, I was also a comeback kid. At the age of 34, I fought a congenital heart condition and class 1 obesity to do my 70.3 Ironmans. Yet with all my mental faculties in place, I was not able to discern that perhaps the nay-sayers were nay-sayers for a reason.

I feel sorry for him. Sorry not because I believe he is innocent. Sorry because Karma is even-handed and will deal them out as she sees damn fit.

And what is in store for Armstrong is not at all pretty.

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