Lance Armstrong faces his greatest challenge - his ego
Like most great athletes, Lance Armstrong has an ego to match his physical prowess. It's unfortunate that, in a life marked by overcoming huge obstacles, that ego appears to be the one he can't surmount.
Mr. Armstrong took to the TV confessional in a long interview with Oprah Winfrey that was aired over the last two days, to address the conclusive proof finally obtained by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he had used performance-enhancing drugs while dominating professional cycling.
For years, Mr. Armstrong had won not only bicycle races but the technology race relative to doping detection. Given that cycling probably is the sport most affected by substance use and the one most subject to testing, Mr. Armstrong's evasion was notable for its sophistication.
Over the past decade, the seven-time Tour de France winner did not simply deny his substance use, he taunted and berated his accusers and bullied and threatened former teammates. Now, the USADA says that Mr. Armstrong's TV confession is inadequate, and that it won't consider lifting his ban from sanctioned events unless he acknowledges the conduct under oath.
Yet Mr. Armstrong's legacy is mixed. Another indelible aspect of his record is that he rose to global fame after defeating testicular cancer that threatened his life. And he used that fame effectively to create the Livestrong Foundation, which has raised many millions of dollars and helped innumerable people fight cancer.
Mr. Armstrong wants to compete in triathlons, the field in which he was a professional as a teenager, before being stricken by cancer. Whether he will be able to do so depends upon his ability to mount yet another struggle - to discovery humility and contrition.