With Lance Armstrong, it will never be about the bike again. In his 40s, he has many decades ahead for a new career path now that we live longer and so it's all about putting the pieces in place for a comeback. The public relations world is watching this one. If it works, there's plenty to learn from how Armstrong engineered a fresh brand identity.
However, the first move in that direction doesn't seem all that promsing. As a fading personality he is teaming up with yet another fading personality Oprah Winfrey to tell his story, which may include an admission of doping. As THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, Armstrong is scheduled to appear with this former Mother Confessor on "Next Channel" on January 17th. Of course during that interview he will have to tap dance around the legal issues.
Was this a poor choice for Armstrong to select for a possible self-outing? Did he go for it because other media bigs such as Barbara Walters were not interested? It also might display a lack of imagination. He could have gone on the new hot spot of Jimmy Kimmel and come clean.
Some professionals like Henry Blodget have solid comebacks. Some like Eliot Spitzer struggle and don't come back. Armstrong might wind up in the latter category.
UPDATE Winfrey's OWN is doing better. She has shifted to a position of media strength, which could mean she will perform as a tough father confessor if Armstrong discloses his transgressions and asks for forgiveness. Winfrey might even have in her power to reduce some of the shame Armstrong will have to endure. Shame is the preferred mode of social control in the 21st century. No one needs to go to prison anymore to become a pariah.