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article imageOprah: Lance Armstrong can be a 'hero again'; fans will forgive

By Yukio Strachan     Jan 22, 2013 in Sports
Edmonton - Speaking in Edmonton on Monday, Oprah Winfrey said Lance Armstrong has the opportunity to be a hero again after confessing to using performance-enhancing drugs to win his seven Tour de France titles.
“This is what I think about Lance: I think that that was one of the hardest things in his life that he has had to do. I think that he was ready to do it,” Winfrey told a sold-out crowd in Edmonton’s Rexall Place arena during a live show Monday evening, her first stop on a tour through Western Canada,The Globe and Mail reported.
Billed as "An Evening with Oprah," the 58-year-old media maven spoke briefly about her exclusive two-part interview last week with Armstrong that offered a ratings boon for her specialty channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The channel has been struggling and even Winfrey admitted it hasn't been the success she had hoped, The CBC reported.
According to The Edmonton Journal, the long-time TV icon alluded a number of times to her network’s failure to capture its expected audience.
“I was slaughtered. In every phase of the media, every day I took a bloodbath. Nothing anybody said was any worse that what I already felt about my self.
She said she has decided to shift focus and believes her channel will soon get back on track. "In three years it will be a force for positivity and raising consciousness in the world."
The Mail states that Winfrey sees the 41-year-old fallen cycling legend in the same way - as a figure worthy of salvation. “Yes, everybody has the ability to rise again. Maybe not, you know, to cycling fame. But what really matters in the world is what kind of human being he chooses to be, and I think he has it within him to be one of the great ones. He does,” she said, comparing her channel's bad reviews to Armstrong's lost respect.
Once the Austin interview was over Armstrong asked her a question, one Winfrey claims most of her subjects do – he asked how he did.
In that, she sees a “human being seeking validation,” The Globe and Mail writes.
“That was the first step to him making that confession. And the real truth is that your life isn’t about a bike, and it isn’t about the races, it isn’t about the mistakes that you’ve made, it really is about how to figure out how to be a better human being,” Winfrey said.
Winfrey says we are a society that wants to forgive and,“if he is willing to do the work to do that, he can become a real hero in his life, for himself and – maybe – for the world. The real world [for Mr. Armstrong] is just starting, if you ask me,” she added.
In addition to stripping him of all seven of his Tour de France titles last year, anti-doping officials banned Armstrong for life from sanctioned events.
The lifetime ban was imposed after a 1,000-page report by USADA last year outlined a complex, long-running doping program led by Armstrong.
Winfrey will be speaking in Calgary on Tuesday night and Vancouver on Thursday.
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