Lance Armstrong is a brilliant liar, of that there is no doubt, in the newest documentary ‘The Armstrong Lie.’ Directed by Alex Gibney, the documentary was originally intended to chronicle Armstrong’s comeback to the world of cycling. What happened was something much more earth shattering.
Back in 2008 Gibney was granted access to film Armstrong’s triumphant return while training for the 2009 Tour de France. Gibney, whose past credits include the scathing documentary ‘Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,’ was hoping for a feel good movie. Armstrong was bicycling’s golden boy. Everyone had placed him on a pedestal. He could do no wrong. Or, could he?
What Gibney came up with was something entirely different. In the midst of filming the documentary, accusations of Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs began to fly. Gibney was forced to shelve all plans for the film when federal prosecutors and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency began their investigation. Instead, Gibney did the only thing he could have done, under the circumstances. He made an entirely different film. One that was honest and showed our hero in a much different light.
By using the footage he already had from 2008 and 2009, Gibney added interviews from Armstrong’s doctors, the ones who originally supplied him with the performance enhancers, as well as interviews from Armstrong’s fellow cyclists and various sports writers who were covering the 2009 cycling circuit. The results turned out to be a film that showcased Armstrong’s vindictive, deceitful behavior. It also showed how the filmmakers were conned into believing Armstrong’s lies and how everyone bought his story.
In fact, Lance Armstrong is a brilliant liar, as ‘The Armstrong Lie’ easily points out. There are times where he lied with a smile on his face and other times where he is filled with undeniable rage. His downright arrogance is on display throughout. It’s positively shocking to watch Armstrong insist that he wasn’t taking any drugs as he trained for the Tour de France. Even more upsetting when finally admits to Gibney and his team that he was, in fact, lying to everyone the entire time. What’s missing, and has been missing since coming out to the public, is his explanation for conning everyone. Armstrong’s lack of regret for the entire scandal is what has left many of his fans cold.
That wasn’t always the case. Armstrong began his cycling career back in 1992, cycling with Team Motorola. He was achieving minor success on the circuit when, in the fall of 1996, he was suddenly derailed with a diagnosis of testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. After surgeries and chemotherapy he was declared cancer free in February 1997. Armstrong went on to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005. Of course, he was stripped of all his titles when the doping scandal broke.
Lance Armstrong isn’t acting the part of a brilliant liar in ‘The Armstrong Lie.’ It’s who the man really was and is. A man with a competitive streak a mile long and a desire to win stronger than the law. A man who fooled everyone and almost got away with it.
By Mary Kay Love