Lance Armstrong’s Confession to Oprah Winfrey Teaches Valuable Lesson

Lance Armstrong is finally coming clean about years of cheating during his illustrious career as a cyclist.  According to the Associated Press, Armstrong taped a lengthy interview on Monday, finally admitting to doping.

And we know that this is in no way a publicity stunt because he taped the interview with … Oprah Winfrey.

That’s right.  He taped the interview with hard-hitting cycling expert and investigative journalist Oprah Winfrey.  The interview will be trimmed down to a convenient 90 minutes in length and aired on Oprah’s TV network on Thursday – after she took to Twitter on Monday, appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, and continues to squeeze every drop of spotlight that she can for herself between now and then.

This is a stunning confession by Armstrong, who spent a decade or so disgracing his sport and destroying the lives and careers of anyone who dared accuse him while armed only with such insignificant “proof” as first-hand experiences and scientific evidence.

It’s stunning only because it took Armstrong this long to figure out how to get back in the limelight and garner more public sympathy after a 1,000-page USADA report outlining testimony by several witnesses and former teammates – along with science that most of us can’t even begin to wrap our brains around – nailed him so squarely and so thoroughly that he had no choice but to drop the ruse and bow out of the public eye with nary a whimper.

Poor guy had to suffer in solitary for two whole months before getting another shot of mass sympathy in the buttocks.  Oh, the agony of it all.

So now Armstrong, no doubt surrounded and coached by the best public relations people and attorneys in the business, confesses to something we’ve all known for two months (and suspected for years) in a soft-toss, edited, tear-jerker interview with Oprah Winfrey that will be publicized all week.  With any luck, we’ll all feel sorry for him again when it’s all over.

Gosh, that’s earth-shattering.  There are almost certainly no ulterior motives within that setup, are there?

Even fewer than the number of Americans who can name one single current cyclist from anywhere in the world is the number of Americans who could possibly still believe that pulling off a superhuman feat like winning the 100-year-old Tour de France seven times in a row can be done without cheating.

These are probably the same people who believe that several baseball players demolishing the single-season home run record that stood for 40 years before were clean as a whistle, too.

But we all love a good falling-from-Grace story.  We love reveling in the fact that Tiger Woods can’t keep his fly zipped, even while married to a smokin’ hottie.  We love seeing Marion Jones bawl her eyes out on camera after dominating track and field for years with the help of performance-enhancing drugs.  We love watching Sammy Sosa suddenly forget how to speak English while in front of the U.S. Congress.

So the Lance Armstrongs and Oprah Winfreys of the world continue to prosper while everyone else learns the valuable lesson that cheating – and dragging everyone around you down, too – is okay as long as you don’t get caught.

And even after you get caught, it’s not so bad.