The admission by Lance Armstrong that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career may finally lead to a comprehensive account of the widespread doping during the past two decades of the sport.
Drug use has been known to cycling for decades. In the early days, some riders consumed a cocktail of amphetamines to withstand the long hours of competition, day after day, in the grand tours.
But it was the discovery of Erythropoietin (EPO) in the 1980s that has cast a long shadow over cycling to this day. EPO is the hormone that regulates red blood cell production, giving the user an unfair advantage.
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“I view this situation as one big lie.”
“It’s just this mythic perfect story and that just wasn’t true.” It just wasn’t true. After a decade of denials and threats to critics, Lance Armstrong has confessed, in a lengthy interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In 2000, Armstrong - off the back of Tour De France victory - penned the book, It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life, co-authored by a US journalist.
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There’s a very simple reason why watching other people confess their sins never fails to be fascinating – and that’s because they’re other people’s sins.
There is no worse feeling than the gnawing, tight, gut-wrenching sensation you experience when you know you’ve done the wrong thing, and realise that only you can fix it.
And it’s becoming impossible not to keep searching for some sign of that feeling among all the photos of Lance Armstrong this week.
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For all the talk about doping that has dominated the news since Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career, there is a curious silence about another kind of dope.
Even before his spectacular fall from grace there was something nonsensical about the international fawning and obscene sums of money corporations were so eager to throw in his direction.
No-one was forced to spend millions in endorsements on a man who was, all hyperbole aside, famous for merely riding a bike very, very fast.
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Don’t let cycling supercheat Lance Armstrong take you for another ride. This is what he’s no doubt planning to do when he appears on Oprah’s couch in a no-holds-barred interview next week.
Oprah is promising no question will be off-limits, but, interestingly, the interview will not be broadcast in full or live. No doubt Armstrong will be contrite, sincere and regretful. He may even cry.
He may need a few rehearsals to get these emotions down pat.
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Tell-all interviews usually reek of sex. Mostly adulterous, always complicated, sometimes violent and just like an old-school western – with the “goodie” and “baddie” laid out plain for all to see.
Tragedy, celebrity, victory, great wealth or misfortunes get a look in too. Ditto multiple childbirth, homosexual offspring and gender transformation surgery.
They’re trashy, melodramatic, addictive and moving. They can be tragic. But the best tell-alls give us something else as well.
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So US tourist numbers are down since Oprah’s “Down Under” fire sale of our national dignity and the much-wished-for Oprah cash has failed to materialise.
The idea of letting a foreign talk show host turn our country into giant television studios smelt dodgy from the start, but after yesterday’s revelations, it stinks.
The news yesterday that US visitor numbers have dropped by 0.8 per cent in the last year just leaves you wondering how this ever got so out of hand.
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“She deserves to be here,” sobbed Dani, with her big puppy dog eyes and glossy black hair.
What a tragedy. Cleo, one of the most popular chefs in the Masterchef kitchen, had ignored the rules to prepare both her toffee dish and her chocolate ganache at the same time. Her elimination was inevitable. Her dream was over.
And we all sniffled too, as the ever-stoic Cleo departed the Masterchef kitchen and returned home to her miniature poodles. Ad break. News headlines. Oprah.
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Welcome to this week’s episode of I Call Bullshit. Today we’re going to look at Oprah. Oprah Winfrey is the sort of mega-star who often leaves people breathless. With wide-eyed adoration, gasping sycophancy, or cynical shock that she is indeed such a mega star.
She is worth gazillions, and her passing endorsement of any old product is worth millions, even billions. Her gift is that people dwell on her every word. But is she full of pearls of wisdom, or is she full of the proverbial? Let’s look at some of her more famous quotes.
I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.
Utter tosh. I am not becoming a crispy-topped piece of melt-in-your-mouth pork belly.
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Did someone say “Oprah”? No? Are you sure? I could’ve sworn I heard someone say “Oprah”.
Over the past few weeks the Talk Show Queen’s name has been noticeably absent from the nation’s media – which probably has something to do with the fact we were quite preoccupied with devastating floods, rampaging cyclones and horrific fires.
Those Oprah-filled days seem so far away now – almost dream-like.
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This week, we have seen two incredible women on television who have both made us feel proud to be Australian.
One is Anna Bligh, with her outpouring of emotion, reminding Queenslanders and the rest of the nation that people from the sunshine state are “the people they breed tough, north of the border.” The other is Oprah.Yes, Oprah.
In Sydney, we are struggling to harness a sense of pride.
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We’re approaching the day where after a month of rampant, random consumerism, and with the humility that only a major hangover brings, people make their New Year’s resolutions. Bad idea.
All you end up with is nicotine withdrawal for a few days, a gym membership you have to pay $5000 to get out of, and a fridge full of rotting “superfoods”.
So what I propose for this year is a more modest approach to becoming a better person: rather than worrying about reaching for a whole lot of unattainable virtues, let’s all just try not being such arseholes.
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Oprah Winfrey (depending on which figures you believe) has anywhere between 25 and 45 million people tuning in every week to watch her uplifting combination of positive thinking and self-acceptance.
This “Oprah Movement” love Oprah and they hang on her every word – if Oprah says Australia is a nice place then somewhere between 25 and 45 million people are going to believe it.
That is why Julia is so keen to be on the show and give Oprah a warm Prime Ministerial hug.
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Hi. Sorry I’m late. Just back from the McCafe. Been hanging out there since really early this morning because, as Oprah’s American audience learned yesterday in a McDonald’s-sponsored segment, that’s what we Aussies do. All the time.
Lucky she reminded me about these “hip hangouts” really. There I was, about to buy a rack of spring lamb for dinner, and a beautiful fresh tray of Bowen mangoes for the fruit bowl, when bing! I remembered that in fact, what I actually craved, on a deeply-ingrained cultural level, was in fact that most Australian of treats, the American Choc Brownie Slice ™.
Or I don’t know, maybe some Cookies and Cream Cheesecake washed down with a caramel latte frappe, a beverage which demonstrates beyond question our love of a classic, untainted, good quality cup of real coffee.
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Dearest Oprah, can we start by saying: ohmygod ohmygod ohmyGOD.
We can’t thank you enough for getting us out of the little marketing pickle we have found ourselves in ever since the Lara Bingle Where-the-Bloody-Hell-Are-You business (yes, what were we thinking?). For your enjoyment we have enclosed some photos from inside our marketing department from the moment we heard the news that you have decided to shoot your first ever overseas show in Sydney. As you can see, there was quite the excitement.
A few more pictures follow. We will of course have a full itinerary ready by the time you arrive but now that we’re locked in there are a few preliminary things you might want to think about that we’ve listed below.
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