18/1/13 Oprah and Lance Armstrong

I hope my blog about Lance Armstrong in October last year demonstrated how significant he was to me, not only as a cycling hero but a champion for cancer survivors. On Monday I read in a day Tyler Hamilton’s excellently written book “The Secret Race” in order to prepare for what might be coming.

I watched Oprah this morning (2am UK time) and I will watch it again – part 2 at 2am on Saturday morning 19/1/13. What I saw was a well rehearsed, cold Lance. Unemotional. It’s interesting that on Twitter there were a few comments from athletes saying things like “let him cry to Oprah” – this didn’t happen. Actually, if you listen to what he said about the need to control, crying was never going to happen.

Having listened to the aftermath on the radio this morning, radio journalists are having difficulty with his “need to control” coming as a result of the cancer. I can sort of understand this. Experiencing cancer is all about statistics… blood results equating to what treatment you can or can’t have, when, how, what do you need to do to beat this? Where it becomes flawed is applying the same principles to sport, or any other profession.

I’m disappointed that Lance didn’t cry and was so cold and unemotional. He talked about the need in his life now to make amends – we need some emotion. Perhaps what I’m looking for is genuineness, I haven’t seen this yet.

He is being open but being genuine and caring is something different.

As a cycling fan and having seen Lance win those seven Tour de France, I feel very, very sad today. As a sport psychology coach I also feel very sad that he was not surrounded by people that actually cared about him but perhaps were motivated by money rather than looking out for him and pointing him in the right direction. But, and this is a big but… as a healthcare professional, I am concerned about the reputation of Livestrong, the charity founded by Lance (yellow wristbands). Livestrong has done good. It is a fantastic resource for both cancer sufferers and cancer survivors around the would. The tragedy in all of this would be for this charity to suffer. Now is the time to separate this from Lance and continue to support it as a valuable cause… please.

I am very sad today but please continue to support Livestrong.