sports

Interview with David Walsh, reporter first suspicious of Lance Armstrong

Several documentaries on Lance Armstrong have been produced, so I don’t know how much interest there is in ESPN’s two-part “30 For 30,” Lance.

But I’m intrigued because I had an opportunity to review a 2016 feature film on Armstrong, titled The Program (starring Ben Foster as the controversial cyclist), for Awful Announcing a few years ago.

As part of that, I also interviewed David Walsh, the British Times journalist who was skeptical of Armstrong’s success after recovering from cancer. As heroic as Armstrong seemed, the story was too good to be true.

“When I saw what Lance did in ’99, I saw a Lance that hadn’t just come back from cancer in good health, he had come back as a rider transformed, able to do things that he’d never been able to do in the four seasons before he got cancer. I thought that was incredible, as in not being credible. All of the things that happened in that ’99 race made me very suspicious and I thought, before we applaud here, we have to know what we’re applauding.”

Additionally, I was able to interview director Stephen Frears before The Program was released on demand. (Unfortunately, I didn’t geek out with him about directing High Fidelity. Tried to be professional and all.)

Frears likened his movie to a crime film with Walsh like the cop chasing down Armstrong’s bad guy. Will we see any of that in Part 2 of Lance? Part 1 was mostly the origin story of Armstrong becoming a world-class cyclist. The second part of the documentary presumably gets into Armstrong’s cheating and strong-armed attempts to cover it up.

Director Marina Zenovich seems more interested in letting Armstrong tell his story. But does anybody really want to hear it, considering his history of lying and bullying?

The Program is currently available on Amazon Prime.

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