Lance Armstrong finally cracked, but not the way anti-doping authorities hoped or as disillusioned fans wanted, while expressing deep remorse or regrets, though there was plenty of that in Friday night's second part of Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey.
It wasn't over the $75 million in lost sponsorship deals, nor when Armstrong was forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his "sixth child." It wasn't even about his lifetime ban from competition.
It was another bit of collateral damage that Armstrong said he wasn't prepared to deal with.
"I saw my son defending me and saying, 'That's not true. What you're saying about my dad is not true,'" Armstrong recalled.
"That's when I knew I had to tell him."
Armstrong was near tears at that point, referring to 13-year-old Luke, the oldest of his five children. It came just past the midpoint of an hourlong broadcast, a day after the disgraced cycling champion admitted using performance-enhancing drugs when he won seven straight Tour de France titles.
Critics said he hadn't been contrite enough in the first half of the interview, taped Monday, but Armstrong seemed to lose his composure when Winfrey zeroed in on the emotional drama involving his personal life.
"What did you say?" Winfrey asked.
"I said, 'Listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I've always denied that and I've always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That's probably why you trusted me on it.' Which makes it even sicker," Armstrong said.
"And uh, I told Luke, I said," and here Armstrong paused for a long time to collect himself, "I said, 'Don't defend me anymore. Don't.'"
- Lance Armstrong came clean to the American public on Thursday night when he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance enhancing drugs in each of his seven Tour de France wins. But was he really being truthful? After so many lies, its difficult to believe him now. And a host of body language experts have already examined Armstrongs non-verbal communication to make their own determinations. Photo: OWN
- Dr. Lillian Glass, author of a book on body language, told said that: [Lance's] body language revealed that he did not want to be giving the interview with his chin scratching, and fingers over his mouth and head scratching. Photo: OWN Dr. Lillian Glass
- Over in the UK, Professor Patrick O'Donnell from the University of Glasgow analyzed the interview and said that despite his superficial contrition, Armstrong showed the opposite through his actions. An apology should be accompanied by non-verbal communication that shows contriteness and that would be deferential and show sadness and sorrow, but what he does it point to himself, first with one hand and then with two, indicating, in effect that he is still the dominant male who can puff out his chest and take pride in his activities. Photo: OWN Professor Patrick O'Donnell
- When Armstrong is confronted with accusations that he was a bully and mastermind of doping activities, O'Donnell says the cyclist can't help but let out a smile or two. He cannot resist making little smiles as he reflects on bullying experience and as a bullying mastermind, reflecting he is taking pride rather than genuine remorse. Photo: OWN
- Blanca Cobb, another body language expert, said for the most part his body conveyed what he said but there were some inconsistencies. Legs crossed, hands on the lap, showed confidence, but when faced with some tough questions his anxiety increased forcing him to rub his hands in what is known as a pacifying action to calm himself. Photo: OWN Blanca Cobb
- Another English body language expert, Robert Phipps, said from the outset, Armstrong showed he would not be totally forthcoming. "It was quite obvious from the start that he wasn't going to be that forthcoming as he sat with his right leg crossed over the top of his left leg. This is known as the figure four block, as it created an immediate barrier between him and Oprah, wrote Phipps on his website. "He also gave block off signals with his hands and arms, interlocking his fingers would indicate that he was withholding answers, which fitted perfectly with his lip tightening, his hand coming up to cover his mouth again and again so not being totally upfront and honest." Photo: OWN Robert Phipps
- Patryk Wezowksi, founder of Center for Body Language, said that micro-expressions like raising one side of the lip corners means that Armstrong was either proud of his actions or had contempt for them like when he described the doping system they had in place. Photo: OWN Patryk Wezowksi
Lance Armstrong came clean to the American public on Thursday night when he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance enhancing drugs in each of his seven Tour de France wins. But was he really being truthful? After so many lies, its difficult to believe him now. And a host of body language experts have already examined Armstrongs non-verbal communication to make their own determinations.