The biggest surprises of Lance Armstrong's exclusive interview with Oprah Thursday night weren't his confessions. Cycling expert Bruce Hildenbrand perfectly outlined many of the things Armstrong would own up to—such as using banned substances to win the Tour de France seven times straight—for us before the TV appearance.
Instead it was Armstrong’s disgraceful demeanor during the first half of the two-part, three-hour-long event that shocked most viewers. Many of us, perhaps the naïve and hopeful ones like myself, half-expected to see a remorseful, even saddened super-star athlete who was looking for forgiveness so he could move on and, more importantly, so we—fans of his cycling and charity—could move on. Instead we got a self-described “arrogant prick” who hardly felt sorry for his actions. In fact, he admitted to feeling the exact opposite.
At one point Oprah asked if he ever felt “wrong” about cheating. Armstrong replied, “No. Scary.” When she continued, “Did you ever feel bad about it?” he responded, "No. Even scarier.” When she pressed on, “Do you feel like you were cheating?” Armstrong simply said, “No. Scariest.” It was one of the most candid, honest moments of the night, and in a horrible way, the most chilling, says deception expert Renee (aka, Eyes for Lies), who anonymously works with law enforcement to catch criminals.
Armstrong's body language and facial expression completely gave him away, according to Janine Driver, the best-selling author of You Can't Lie to Me, who I interviewed for a Bicycling.com story about the cyclist's behavior during the interview. The experts say it's noteworthy that Armstrong used:
Hard-sell: Words and phrases including “never,” “absolutely not,” and “I know you are going to find this hard to believe” are major red flags. “I would classify Armstrong as a 'convincer' rather than a 'conveyer' type of liar,” Driver says. A truthful person doesn't need to over-emphasize or use disclaimers.
Arrogance: Armstrong admitted to it: “Look at that arrogant prick,” he said looking back at past clips with Oprah. But don't mistake this for an apology. “I didn't see a man who is in a lot of emotional pain for lying to fans, calling honest people liars, and viciously suing people who spoke out against him,” Renee says.
Speaking nonsense: One point Armstrong made clear through repetition was that he was not a fan of the International Cycling Union (UCI). So why would he willingly donate $125,000 to the governing body of the sport? He denied he did it to have any influence over his tests, but he clearly didn't fork over the cash to an agency that could hang him because he was a generous guy, Renee says. His answer is inconsistent and doesn't make logical sense.