Lance Armstrong has completed his "tell all" interview with Oprah Winfrey--and now an anxious nation waits to the edited version to air on Oprah's OWN network on Thursday. Well, don't expect me to be on the edge of my seat in anticipation--or to even watch the telecast for that matter--because I already know how this is going to play out. In fact, I could give you almost word for word the transcript of the "shocking admission"--based on the countless previous interviews of this type given by every other athlete, politician and evangelical leader that have shamed themselves publicly--and then hired PR flacks to teach them to minimize the damage through carefully orchestrated media appearances.
Here's how it is going to go:
OPRAH--"Lance, did you do steroids while winning all those Tours de France?"
LANCE--"Oprah, when I was lying in my hospital bed wondering if I was even going to survive testicular cancer and the other tumors throughout my body, I promised myself and God that if I did live that I was going to dedicate my life to serving as an inspiration for other cancer patients by becoming the greatest bicyclist that ever lived. And when God blessed me with a miracle cure I knew that I had to honor Him by making good on that promise.
"But when I got back on the cycling circuit I found out that everybody and I mean EVERYBODY was doping--and no matter how hard I trained and how much I conditioned myself and how good I took care of my body, that there was no way I was ever going to be able to compete with those guys. So, I'm ashamed to admit this (tears begin to well in the eyes here) I asked our team doctors if they could provide me with the same stuff everyone else was using--not because I wanted to be better than them--just so that it would be a fair playing field."
OPRAH--"Why did you deny using steroids for so long?"
LANCE--"I really thought that all I had to do was use them for just a little bit--just to, like I said, catch up to all the other guys on the circuit. But then I saw what an inspiration I was to all those cancer victims and survivors that I knew that I had to keep it up. And then when I founded LiveStrong and we started raising these millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment--and I saw the good that my actions were doing for so many people who otherwise (cue more tears here--in Oprah's eyes as well) wouldn't have had that hope--I knew that I had to keep doing them.
"And when the rumors started and the French newspapers were printing those disgusting and evil things about me, I felt like I had to lash out at them--to deny the allegations--because by admitting anything, I would have been letting down all of those people who had found inspiration to overcome their own challenges."
OPRAH--"Lance, how do you want to be remembered?"
LANCE--"Oprah, I honestly don't care if anyone remembers me as the guy who won a record seven Tours de France or even the guy who overcame testicular cancer that had metastacized throughout his body. I just want people to remember me as someone who gave people hope and who helped to raise millions of dollars to fight the absolute worst disease in the world. A disease that kills children and mothers and fathers every day. So I hope that people forget the small sins that I may have committed to win a few bike races and just judge me on the actions I took to help so many."
OPRAH--"Thanks Lance. I know you are still an inspiration to millions." (Big smiles on everyone's faces--because Oprah has now forgiven you on behalf of "all of America")
Like I said, no reason to watch--we've all seen it before.