Only in one of the final lines of his blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey did Lance Armstrong finally recognise the real problem with his cheating. Whilst his drug abuse to claim seven Tour de France titles was abhorrent, the worst issue flagged up in the interview only really drew any remorse towards the end: "The ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people that supported me and believed in me, and that I lied to."
Earlier, Armstrong had spoken about the effects of his crimes and lies on his children, his family, and those in his closest circles. He admitted he had "lost count" of the number of people he had sued when asked about the situation between himself and Emma O'Reilly, a former masseuse and assistant. In 2004, the year of his sixth Tour de France title, O'Reilly accused Armstrong of being a drug cheat only to be bullied by him - being called a prostitute and alcoholic in front of the world's media - and eventually, sued by him.
He begrudgingly offered an apology to the Sunday Times' David Walsh, the man who worked so hard in bringing the claims surrounding Armstrong's use of drugs into the public eye, and whom he once described as a "fucking little troll" following the death of Walsh's son in a cycling accident.
Perhaps most strikingly, and in the one show of any emotion from Armstrong, he spoke of how his son, unaware to his father's doping habits, had defending him against the taunts of other children, only to be told only last summer that these taunts were in fact true.
These are just the tip of the iceberg though - Armstrong appears to be a compulsive liar and still determines that he was clean upon his comeback in 2009, a story that has been shown as incorrect by evidence with only a one in a million error margin.
Throughout the interview, whilst mainly untested by Winfrey, the disgraced cycling icon continued to display an arrogant and unrepentant attitude, admitting that he regretted his 2009 comeback, saying "I wouldn't be here." His regret lies in being caught rather than the actual act of cheating.
Whilst he seeks some sort of redemption through either the public eye or in the form of a reduction in his lifetime ban that he calls a "death sentence", instead this first public sighting since he was stripped of his titles has perhaps increased the sense of loathing towards Armstrong. His achievements between 1999 and 2005 drew awe and adoration at the beginning of the century, but now this all comes crashing down around him, and rightly so.
What was always going to be an astounding event in sport did not fail to live up to expectations, even if Armstrong was not hounded in the way that many would have wanted. Ultimately he dug himself the holes that more pressing questions would have provided.
Oprah let him off the hook, but the man that was once idolised showed himself even further to be an odious and contemptuous human being, and any doubters to that fact would have swiftly had their thoughts changed. All that Armstrong is left with is his seven framed yellow jerseys and even less sympathy than he held before his 'confession.' Unfortunately the scars he left on those around him will mark far deeper.
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