A few years ago there was a TV show entitled “My Name is Earl” about a lowlife (played by Jason Lee) who goes around righting all the wrongs he’s done to other folks in his life to improve his karma.
Watching the Lance Armstrong “worldwide exclusive” interview the past couple of nights, I couldn’t help thinking that the cyclist could start a weekly reality-based TV show along those same lines.
The show could easily go for several seasons until Armstrong runs out of people who deserve an apology. Each week, he could contact a person whose life or reputation he has harmed or made hell and do something to make amends. Frankie Andreu. Betsy Andreu. Greg Lemond. Emma O’Reilly. David Walsh. The list goes on and on.
The season opener could be Armstrong revealing to the US Anti-Doping Agency all the details of the US Postal Service team’s doping regimen and how he beat the system.
He told Oprah Winfrey that he’s going through therapy. Maybe visiting these people face-to-face could help him come to terms with what he admits is his “flawed character.”
Statute of limitations
Something else that struck me is how Armstrong mentioned several times in the interview that the doping ended in 2005; that he didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs during his comeback. At one point he attributes this to his ex-wife Kristin:
“It was a big decision. I needed her blessing. And she said to me, you can do it, under one condition, that you never cross that line again [the line of drugs], and I said you’ve got a deal and I never would have betrayed that with her. It was a serious ask, a serious commitment. She gave me her blessing. If she would have said no, I don’t like this idea, I would not have done it. But I gave her my word and I’ll stick to it.”
I’m wondering if this is an attempt to set some kind of statute of limitations on his cheating. He admits to doping his first time around, but not in his comeback. That means we’re coming up on eight years since he admits that he doped during competition.
Winfrey didn’t follow up on this. VeloNews.com, analyzing the findings in last fall’s USADA’s report last fall, reported that:
“E-mails between Armstrong and Ferrari’s son, Stefano, obtained by USADA investigator Jack Robertson from Italian Carabinieri NAS, include references to Armstrong’s training regimen and payment plan to Ferrari. In all, Armstrong paid Ferrari over $1 million; the relationship continued during Armstrong’s comeback, in 2009-2010, and into his recent foray into triathlon competition.”
Ferrari is Dr. Michele Ferrari, an Italian doctor who has been convicted of sporting fraud. During the Winfrey interview, Armstrong said he didn’t want to talk about other people when she asked him about Ferrari.
The USADA documents, however, say that at least three teammates — George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Tom Danielson — testified that Ferrari gave them advice on doping in 2005. Christian Vande Velde said he met with Armstrong and Ferrari in 2002 when they learned he was not adhering to the doping regimen.
Armstrong told Winfrey that he really wants to get back to competing in sanctioned events again, something that’s impossible under his lifetime ban.
Armstrong might get that ban reduced if he helps the USADA uncover the details of the doping regimen, but this question of whether he doped during his comeback will have to be addressed.