- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Can’t wait to see just what Lance Armstrong admits in his interview with Oprah Winfrey? Don’t worry. Playbook has gotten ahold of the transcript.
[The interview opens with OPRAH sitting on a couch in a hotel room in Austin, Texas.]
OPRAH: Hello. Tonight marks a very special moment for me. For the first time since I left my adoring national audience to start the Oprah Winfrey Network on channel 438, I’ve finally come across someone even more desperate than me to rehabilitate his public image.
And so, as the host of the nation’s official confessional, I’m pleased to introduce you to the disgraced former Tour de France champion and American hero -- Lance ARMSTRONNGGGGG!!!
[The camera pans to reveal a very sweaty LANCE and a team of lawyers furiously riding stationary bikes next to OPRAH.]
LANCE: Just five more minutes, Oprah. Me and my peloton of lawyers have almost caught Floyd Landis on my virtual Tour de France trainer.
OPRAH: No worries. If this interview doesn’t boost my ratings, I may need to hook you up to a generator to keep our studio running.
[LANCE finally finishes his training session, drinks heavily from an energy drink, then sits down on the couch next to OPRAH. She gives a look of disgust as LANCE’s sweat flops onto her.]
What is it you want to tell the world? What do you finally want to reveal to us so you can finally clear your conscience?
LANCE: I want to say ... I want to say ... I have to say ... God, this is just so difficult. Oprah, I want to say that what everyone has been accusing me of for all these years, and everything I denied ... is true.
Yes. All the accusations are true. I bet on baseball. But I swear I never ever bet against the Reds.
OPRAH: Ummm, I don’t think that’s what I meant. I believe you have something else to confess.
LANCE: That I did have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky?
OPRAH: No, I don’t think that’s it.
LANCE:That my girlfriend Lenny Kekua didn’t really exist?
OPRAH: No, there was something else.
LANCE: OK, OK. It’s time to fess up. I was indeed horrible in my cameo performance in “You, Me and Dupree."
[LANCE leans back in his chair, sobs briefly, sips a glass of water and then relaxes.]
LANCE: Boy, that feels so good to get off my chest. Thank you, Oprah.
[OPRAH stares at him in disbelief.]
OPRAH: Enough, already. Your agent certainly assured us you were ready to reveal the truth about doping at the Tour de France. That’s the whole reason we’re doing this show. I didn’t invite you on to admit your performance in “You, Me and Dupree’’ was even worse than Brett Favre’s in “There’s Something About Mary."
LANCE: Don’t put words in my mouth, Oprah. I only said I was horrible. I never said I was worse than Brett Favre.
OPRAH: Whatever. Just tell me what you promised to tell us during our negotiations.
LANCE: Oh, all right. If you’re going to be that way about it.
[He stares into the camera for several uncomfortable seconds, then turns to OPRAH for support.]
LANCE: I’m sorry. This is just so hard. I’ve kept it a secret for so long and though I want to confess, I’m not prepared to even say it out loud. Can I whisper it to my lawyers and then have them tell you what I said?
OPRAH: Well, that’s not what we agreed to, but I guess it will have to do.
[LANCE’s team of lawyers sit down between LANCE and OPRAH. LANCE leans over and whispers into the ear of one lawyer, who whispers into the ear of another, who whispers into the ear of another, who whispers into OPRAH’s ear.]
OPRAH: So you admit you took performance-enhancing drugs during the Tour de France?
LANCE: What? I did no such thing. I can’t believe you would say that. My lawyers will be filing a $50 million libel suit by the end of this show.
OPRAH: But I was simply repeating what you just had your lawyers tell me this very minute.
LANCE: Oops. Sorry. My bad. I’m so used to automatically suing anyone who accuses me of taking steroids that I just do it out of reflex now.
OPRAH: Well, then, let’s get this straight. After all these years, you finally admit you doped during your career. That you used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times. That all those people you viciously sued for libel were telling the truth. That all those former teammates, friends and supporters you accused of lying were also telling the truth.
[LANCE consults briefly with his lawyers, then nods in agreement.]
OPRAH: But here’s my question. After denying the truth for so long, why admit it now? What’s the motive?
LANCE: Because it was time to stop living a lie. And, plus, I’m starting a new foundation that I’m revealing for the first time to your millions of viewers.
OPRAH: Well, more like thousands of viewers these days. But anyway, just what is this foundation?
[LANCE peels off a yellow wrist band and hands it to OPRAH, who examines it dubiously and then holds it up to the camera. The camera zooms in and allows us to read the two-word message in capital letters:]
OPRAH: Lie Strong? Are you serious? Your new organization is called Lie Strong?
LANCE: Absolutely, Oprah. I’m proud of what I did with Livestrong and the many lives I touched. But I want to be part of something bigger, something that affects everyone. And that’s lying. Everyone lies. You, me, Floyd Landis. And I want to help those people.
OPRAH: By encouraging them to fess up as you did so yourself tonight on my show?
LANCE: No, Oprah. I want them to tell bigger lies. Real whoppers. Lie Strong for a better life! Lie on your expense reports. Lie on your tax returns. Lie about cheating on your spouse. Lie about everything. And don’t ever feel bad about lying because all you’re really doing is keeping up with everyone else. It’s like drugs and the Tour de France. Everyone else is doing it, so you better do it, too, if you want to wear life’s yellow jersey.
I’m telling you, Oprah, this is going to be huge. I’ve already got half of Congress on board and a quarter of the news talk show hosts.
OPRAH: Yes, well, it’s been very nice chatting with you. Thank you for coming on the show and best of luck with this new endeavor of yours.
LANCE: You’re welcome, Oprah. Thank you for letting me bare my soul. I feel much better already. But just so you know, if you air any part of this interview, my lawyers will file a $300 million libel suit.
[As LANCE’s team of lawyers serve OPRAH with legal papers, the episode fades to black.]