The man who was once the most inspirational figure in sports has fallen from grace, and nothing can save him. Lance Armstrong, accused for years of doping, is expected to confess his guilt on in an interview with Oprah, according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, but the admission will simply cement his legacy as a cheat.
Armstrong maintained his innocence for years, viciously attacking those who would dare question his integrity. When the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released nearly overwhelming evidence against Armstrong, though, the jig was up. He was clearly guilty, and an admission was only a matter of time.
Now, with his sponsorships evaporated and his Livestrong charity flailing, Armstrong's hand is forced.
That's what makes this whole affair so depressing.
This whole affair has been about Armstrong's selfishness and ego. Wanting to be the best at the expense of one's integrity is bad enough, but all too common in cycling. To an extent, the fact that Armstrong ever doped is almost forgivable. I say this because of doping's overwhelming prevalence in the sport, rather than any real moral grounding.
To so adamantly deny these charges, though, and for so long, demonstrates just how selfish Armstrong really was. He wanted his greatness to be real, and he wanted the illusion to go on as long as possible.
If the Anti-Doping Agency's evidence had never come out, Armstrong would probably still be living the lie.
Armstrong fed the world a lie, and we ate it up. We wanted to believe in a man who overcame so much to become so great, and we were willing to look past his flaws. In return, Armstrong took us all for fools.
Even when the evidence was so great, Armstrong continued to feed the world his lies. Only now, when the truth can serve his own personal interests, is Armstrong willing to confess.
Confessing now does nothing for his legacy. Armstrong had a chance to tell the truth. In fact, he had years to do it, at a time when it would have been much more difficult for him. By finally confessing now, he's taken the easy route.
Instead of regaining his status as an inspiration, Armstrong's confession will serve only to keep him mired in his own tarnished legacy.