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Armstrong body language 'unsettling'

Body language expert and researcher Patti Wood says she found the body language of Lance Armstrong 'unsettling' during his interview with Oprah Winfrey.

PT1M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2czp2 620 349

ONE of the greatest ironies about Lance Armstrong’s talk-fest is that it has morphed into a discussion about what he did not say.  

The shedding of tears in instalment two of a sitting with Oprah Winfrey ticked a previously unchecked box for some. 

Far more serious, however, are the gaping holes in a selective confessional that anti-doping chiefs and sports bosses worldwide are impatient for the self-described cheat, liar, bully and narcissist to fill in. 

(FILES) June 8, 2003 file photo shows US cyclist Lance Armstrong speaking to the press in Villars-de-Lans, before the start of the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine Libere cycling event.  Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong, shorn of cycling's greatest prizes and expelled from sport, wants to compete again and doesn't believe he deserved the "death penalty" of a life ban, AFP reported January 18, 2013.

Lance Armstrong: 'I got a death penalty.' Photo: AFP

Critical of the largely unhelpful ‘‘convenient truth’’ Armstrong shared with the talk-show host after declining several calls to front the likes of the US Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman, boss of the World Anti-Doping Authority, expressed no sympathy for the disgraced  cyclist.

International Olympic Committee member and former WADA boss Dick Pound remains suspicious about Armstrong’s motives and does not feel he is truly sorry.

‘‘I think this is another attempt to control another narrative,’’ he told CNN. 

Armstrong, meanwhile, signalled he will fight his lifetime ban from sport, believing he ‘‘deserves’’ to compete again and that he has received the ‘‘death penalty’’ while other cheats have got off lightly. 

In a second televised night of conversation with Winfrey that was more public therapy than revelatory, Armstrong broke down when discussing what doping had done to his home life, detailing his sense of shame when breaking the news recently to his 13-year-old son, Luke, that he was a fraud. 

Armstrong promised he would spend the rest of his days trying to make up for his great deceit to supporters he has disgusted, but said that as bad as he felt, nothing compared to the low of receiving a cancer diagnosis: a nightmare he faced at 25 and overcame. 

Of far greater interest to sports chiefs are the matters of who supported Armstrong’s doping, who he doped with and who helped cover it up.

They want this to be declared under oath, and with cross-examination.For his sudden compulsion to do good, Armstrong has given no such commitment to do the one thing that USADA and WADA would value most.

In fact, all he had for the government agency that nailed him was criticism: USADA’s lifetime ban from all Olympic sports was too harsh, and he certainly did not attempt to offer the organisation $250,000 as claimed. 

‘‘I got a death penalty and they got six months,’’ Armstrong said, comparing his endless punishment with the penalties dealt to riders who testified against him and incurred reduced sanctions as a pay-off.

‘‘I’m not saying that’s unfair necessarily, but I’m saying it’s different.’’ 

Armstrong has not said it himself, but the multimillion-dollar lawsuits hanging over his head, and the lingering threat of perjury charges, clearly loom large. 

His downfall has already cost him dearly – in Saturday’s broadcast he referred to the ‘‘$75million day’’ recently when, one by one, sponsors dumped him – but there is much more to come and he knows it.  

Among the issues are a $US30million whistleblower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis, formerly a teammate of Armstrong’s.

There are also claims by London’s The Sunday Times newspaper and Dallas insurer SCA.

‘‘I’ve certainly lost all future income,’’ said the man who is estimated to have a personal wealth of $US125million. 

Only one major sporting body of note has come close to celebrating the words that Armstrong has uttered: the one that has the most to lose. 

Pat McQuaid, the boss of cycling’s besieged world governing body, wasted no time trumpeting his view that Armstrong has now proved there was ‘‘no collusion or conspiracy’’ as far as Union Cycliste Internationale and the disgraced rider is concerned. 

McQuaid based his statement, which has raised more than a few eyebrows in cycling ranks, on Armstrong’s emphatic denial of a claim he donated six-figure sums to the UCI to cover up positive doping tests. 

But even Armstrong – adamant he did not dope after his comeback in 2009, though scientific evidence suggests he did – has acknowledged there is no reason for anyone to believe him again. 

slane@fairfaxmedia.com.au