"Lie Strong": Lance Armstrong's Interview with Operah


Janine Driver

Author of the NEW best-selling book


Bicycling hotshot Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour de France seven consecutive times, offered up an arrogant nationally televised apology to Oprah on OWN.  Last night, watching Part 1 of the two-part interview, my BS Barometer went haywire with the needle pointing towards, “Full of It!” at least eight times and landed at “Running on Fumes” over twenty-five times!

Not surprisingly, Armstrong and his egotistical smirk of contempt (his left side of his mouth pulled up and in) may not be out of the woods with regard to his civil and criminal liability.  The former role model super athlete contradicted statements that he made under oath in his 2006 deposition, where he vehemently proclaimed he never used drugs.  Plus, Armstrong may have people coming after him to recoup millions of dollars in legal fees and other damages from what seems like the endless amount of fraudulent lawsuit claims he made against friends, acquaintances, and insurance companies.

Below is my quick list of detecting deception “hotspots” (I’d flush these out a bit more, but I’m about to head to Disney World with my son and husband… literally!):

 BS Barometer Reading: FULL OF IT

  1. When Oprah asked if he had taken drugs after 2009-2010 he answered by saying, "absolutely not."

  2. When Oprah asked if he was the leader of the group of drug-users, he starts with a long, "wellll…"  I’ve dubbed this in my NEW book, YOU CAN’T LIE TO ME, as the “Fishing Well,” this buys him a couple seconds to decide to lie or tell the truth… I think he fell short of the truth here!  Herman Cain loved to use the “welllll…” when asked about sexually harassing woman in the workplace.

  3. When asked if he had threatened fellow teammates, he answered by saying, "I did not do that." Where his baseline he uses contractions.

  4. When asked if he would fire anyone if they didn't dope up on his team, he answers with, "absolutely not" also he said that it "never happened.” Truthful people say, “No.”  Liars often try to over-compensate like we hear with Lance not only in this interview, but in the video clips within the last decade that Oprah aired for him to watch.

  5. When he was referring to the doping tests that he passed, he said "I passed them because there was nothing in their system (referring to the testing of EPO)" he showed contempt.

  6. At 10 PM, Oprah began talking about the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, which Tyler Hamilton says Lance tested positive for drug use a d he paid off the Union Cyclist International (UCI) to make the test go away, I believe Lance is not being forthright here. Keep in mind Lance even told Oprah if one little detail is slightly off he has no problem completely denying the whole thing and saying the entire point is false.  During his denials here, I wish Oprah would of pushed a little further and asked specifically what part was not true.  More time needs to be spent on this allegation.

  7. When Oprah asked, "Why did you make that donation?" Regarding UCI, Lance leaked contempt. 

  8. Oprah followed up with the following question, "So you did not pay UCI?"  When Lance responded with, "no," he had a left shoulder shrug, which indicates uncertainty and it's a gesture we often see with deceptive people.  The trick is we do not know what he's uncertain about unless we ask him a question, such as, "Is there any reason why you seem uncertain in your answer?"

BS Barometer Reading: Running on Fumes

  1. Right from the beginning we saw lip-locking and a hand over the mouth.  My motto is, “When we don’t like what we see or hear, our lips disappear.”  We saw this lip-lock with other notorious liars of late, such as: A-Rod, Anthony Weiner, Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, Kobe Bryant and this list goes on and on!

  2. When Oprah asked the second question about EPO, he leaked sadness.

  3. Armstrong’s lips disappeared when Oprah asked if he had used performance enhancing drugs to win all 7 Tour de France.

  4. He answered once with, "I don't know if I have a great answer."

  5. Armstrong uses a lot of distancing language, "this situation."  Distancing language is used to dumb down and minimize the crime.

  6. When he said, "this story was perfect for so long." He showed contempt, moral superiority  (his left side of his mouth pulled in and up… this is the only unilateral expression that shows up on only one side of a person’s face).

  7. Throughout the whole interview Armstrong kept pacifying himself (from starching his head, to rubbing his tongue along his teeth, to rubbing is nose to covering his mouth).

  8. "You had things" when he was referring to the drugs, again distancing language.

  9. When he said that he thought, "I'm not gonna get caught," he shifted his position (crossed other leg over).  When we move our bodies we move our minds and decrease stress and anxiety.

  10. When asked if he was a bully, he laughs then he answers "I was a bully" then we see a lip-purse, which is usually seen with embarrassment.  This may be the only time Armstrong actually showed compassion, other then when he spoke about his cancer fight.

  11. When asked if he knew he would win the races, Armstrong answered by saying, "I knew I was going to win" then he leaked contempt.

  12. When asked how he thinks of Dr. Ferrari, he says that he viewed him as a good man, then he talks about how good he is today too.  This mix-up of his tenses is a hotspot that we often see with liars.

  13. The first taped interview when asked if he doped:

  14. -"Never, absolutely not"

  15. -"I know you are going to find this hard to believe…"

  16. -Lips start to disappear, he closed his eyes a bit longer then usual, and rubbed his teeth with his tongue.

  17. When he talks about how he viewed himself during the past interviews, he said, "Look at that arrogant prick (referring to himself)" he leaked subtle sadness.  But I don’t think he’ll win over any fans for his candor here.  Plus, we don’t know why the sadness if there because Oprah never asked him.

  18. When they played the winning video clip, he leaked happiness while watching the clip, he also rubbed his tongue along his teeth, covered his mouth, and cleared his throat 3 times.

  19. When Oprah asked him a yes or no answer about if he thought that he was cheating, he answered "no" while he nodding up and down.

  20. When Oprah asked if it felt wrong, at the time, Lance says, "no" again, but shakes his head up and down.

  21. When Oprah asked, "What did it feel like when you were in it," Lance said, "ummm" with a shaking voice, this is an indicator of stress.

  22. The 2005 clip of his speaking under oath he says, "100%, absolutely not," and he also says, "never taken drugs, never." Truthful people convey information and liars often try to convince us that their story is true… Once again, Armstrong is trying to strong-arm us here and I don’t buy it.

  23. When Oprah got on the topic of why did Lance sue so many people he began to get a little uncomfortable and we saw him scratching his face.   This is a pacifying gesture and indicates an increase in stress.

  24. Around 10:11pm, when referring to Betsy Andrew, the girl he called crazy, bitch, etc. he said, "I didn't call her fat" but he smiles it was just out of place.  He tried to make light of the situation, but Oprah wasn't laughing.  When people laugh when they caused harm to someone else it’s called, “Duping Delight,” and it sends the message that they are proud of themselves. Disgusting.

  25. When Oprah inquires more about what Betsy overheard in the hospital, Lance says, "I'm not going to take that on." Any leaks contempt and disgust (nose wrinkled and upper lip pulled slightly up).

  26. When Oprah plays the 2006 clip with regard to Landis, we see Lance watching and he snares his teeth, this is a micro-expression of anger and disdain.

  27. When Oprah asked if Lance "shunned" Landis, Lance responded, "I didn't feel that way, but obviously he did." And Lance leaked contempt, moral superiority.

While watching these clips, I would classify him as a "convince-not-conveyer" type of liar in both body language and statements.  Also, I felt as if he was 93% truthful in this interview, but think he still is lying, which is indicative of compulsive liars – even when they try to tell the truth, they still tend to hold something back. One thing I didn't see was any forehead movement (like genuine sadness with the eyebrows pulled together and up, but I did see some pulling down of the eyebrows, which signals subtle anger).  However, when Armstrong was talking about the outcome of this situation, he says "I deserve this," I genuinely believed him, his body language was congruent with his message there was tension in his jaw and neck.  And he’s right… he does deserve this and much more!

We’ll see what Part 2 of Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong brings… more partial truths… I’m sure!