While Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong won't air until Thursday and Friday evenings on OWN, Winfrey appeared on CBS This Morning on Tuesday and shed some light on her conversation with the disgraced cyclist.
According to Winfrey, the interview was very intense:
Oprah: “Emotional” doesn't begin to describe the intensity or difficulty Lance experienced during interview #OprahThisMorning— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 15, 2013
One of the concerns I had when I heard Armstrong would be doing this interview was that he would try to totally control the message and use the platform as a glorified public relations statement.
Oprah: Lance Armstrong had a team of people in the room yesterday during the interview, but not his lawyers #OprahThisMorning— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 15, 2013
During a break in the interview, Lance Armstrong asked Oprah, “Will there be a point where you lighten up?” #OprahThisMorning— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 15, 2013
But the question that will be on everyone's mind is whether or not Armstrong flat-out confessed, felt guilty for his actions or directly apologized to the many people he hurt, cheated and abused during the years this scandal took place.
While you'll need to watch the interview to make your own decisions in that regard, Oprah offered the following assessment of Armstrong (via CBS):
Winfrey went on to explain that while Armstrong "did not come clean in the manner that I expected" and that it was "surprising to me ... my team, all of us in the room ... I feel that he answered the questions in a way that he was ready."
"I can only say I was satisfied by the answers," she added.
But Winfrey stopped short of characterizing Armstrong as "contrite," explaining, "I choose not to characterize. I would rather people make their own decisions about whether he was contrite or not. I thought that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious ... I thought that he met the moment."
You can watch Oprah's entire interview with CBS This Morning below.
In some ways, this was a well-orchestrated public admission by Armstrong. When he chose not to fight the United States Anti-Doping Agency's case against him in August, he spared himself countless testimonies from former teammates and witnesses who claimed in the USADA report they actually watched him dope.
By simply giving in then and claiming he was tired of fighting the allegations, Armstrong gave himself the opportunity to confess—if he ever chose to do so—at the time and in the manner of his choosing.
While it doesn't sound like Oprah offered him the softest of landings, Armstrong is now getting the sort of publicity and public forum he wouldn't have received if former teammates testified against him in an arbitration court.
He at least has the opportunity to appeal to the court of public opinion and hope that he can eventually be forgiven or at least get a few of the sponsorships he lost back.
Or maybe he truly is sorry for his actions and, as Oprah said, was just ready to do this now. Only Armstrong will ever know.
One thing is certain: Thursday and Friday night's interview seems like a must-watch. Give Oprah credit for doing a bit of savvy PR herself here, but nonetheless, this interview feels like the final chapter in the scandal that has permanently scarred Armstrong's legacy.