The Armstrong Lie


TheArmstrong Lie

TheArmstrong Lie

Thedocumentary “” explores the issues and factssurrounding the former cycling champion and public figure LanceArmstrong. The documentary by AlexGibneyeffectively paints a picture of the situation and actions ofArmstrong to the viewer. The documentary presents Armstrong as asuccessful athlete, but a fallen public figure. This presentationexists because AlexGibneypaints the picture of success of Armstrong and failures that areassociated with the doping allegations and confession. Thedocumentary does not appeal the viewer who has previous informationabout the rise and the fall of the cyclist hero. As a result, thedocumentary does not appeal to the viewer because of thecontradiction that it paints on itself by combining the successes andfailures of the subject.

Bynarrating the story using the first person, AlexGibneydevelops the film around the history, life and experiences ofArmstrong. Gibneyopens the documentary with a speech by Armstrong describing his fallout of his admission of the doping claims (Gibney,2013).Gibney presents the aftermath of the poor interview that Armstronghad with a TV show host Oprah Winfrey as the basis of theillustrating the failures of Armstrong. Through such basis, Gibneysucceeds at painting Armstrong as a disgraced cyclist who displayedadmission of the drug admission. However, Gibney shows that Armstrongdisplayed some extent of denying the allegations of doping while atthe same time admitting the use.

Asa result, the film is not successful enough to interest a large massof viewers in the situation at hand. The film is however a goodlesson in the peril of being entangled in a story with divergentfacts. In my opinion, the narrator Gibneyfinds himself in the middle of two opposing lives of Armstrong thathe should present to the audience. On one side of the story is asuccessful and heroic cyclist who has achieved a lot in the sport.Moreover, the claim of success is vindicated by the fact that manypeople adore the athlete whether in success or in failure. On theother hand, there is a picture of a liar who convinces the world thathe is honestly successful. His doping admission pulls down hissuccess while people change their perspective over the athlete, afact that comes out in the beginning of the documentary.

Thepossible ramification of the situation is that Gibney should focus onthe life of Armstrong from one dominant perspective. Out of the twocontradicting facts and stories of Armstrong, the documentary seemsto focus more on the failures associated with the doping claims andadmission. The naming of the film “” indicatesthe main objective of the documentary, which affirms the assertionthat the film should have focused on the lie part. However,recognition of the success of Armstrong is important as a way ofbringing out the lie as the reason for the big success. However,Gibney got entangled in between the lie and the success instead ofobjectively painting the effects of doping claims and admission ofArmstrong and the sport.

Thedocumentary says a lot about the sport and the culture of sport. Thedocumentary shows that the sport is not well regulated that itspeople can practice doping without being discovered. While there areseveral anti-doping regulations in many sports, the viewer is leftwondering how Lance Armstrong was able to use the drugs withoutdetection for the years he competed (Macur,2014).This shows that the sporting world has a culture of adopting thesafety mechanisms that are only enough and not sufficient. As he setsthe record straight, Armstrong exposes the laxity that exists in theport. This shows that other sports have a similar tendency due to theregular doping claims that are regularly reported.

Inaddition, the documentary says a lot about lying in the sportingworld. There are several lies that exist in the sporting world thatdo not have to be related to doping. By focusing on doping ofArmstrong as the focus, the documentary sets an example of how liescan affect sports. In specific, the existence of dishonesty is themain character that leads to the use of drugs to enhance performance.The documentary therefore proves the lapses that encourage athletesand players in many sports to be dishonest. According to Ryanand Melissa (2012), adocumentary can highlight the consequences of human actions to thesociety. This documentary illustrates the consequences by statingthat Armstrong was banned from the sport and lost his titles. Theactions indicate that the sport has a culture of discipline despitethe lapses that breaches it.

Thedocumentary further shows that the American culture is receptive ofextreme behaviors and characters of people who seek fame. Therefore,such people use any method possible for them to achieve theirobjectives. This becomes the highlight of the film as other peoplecomment during the interviews in the film. One of the playersinterviewed illustrates this point as moral relativism of thesporting forces (Macur,2014).The Armstrong lie indicates there may be a widespread element ofdishonesty in the community, not just sports.

Oneof the visual elements in the movie is the use of interviews of LanceArmstrong with other parties. One of the dominant interviews is theone with Oprah Winfrey as introduced in the beginning of the movie&nbsp(Gibney,2013). Thisvisual element introduces the topic of the film and helps the viewerto identify with the situation being explored in the film. The filmalso uses text and graphics to communicate to the viewer byhighlighting the titles and years that Armstrong won some of thevictories.

Thistype of documentary is a performative documentary. This is because itfocuses on a subjective experience of Lance Armstrong and theemotional response the he has on the world. At the same time, thedocumentary explores how the world responds to his personalexperiences of cycling and the doping admission. The documentaryfurther explores the success of Armstrong and the failures, as a wayof leaving the world to objectively respond to the problems thatbefall him. The film is a performative documentary because itincludes some hypothetical enactments of Armstrong’s life and letsthe viewer to experience his emotions. Therefore, the documentaryhelps the viewer to experience the events that befall LanceArmstrong.


Thedocumentary “” explores the facts andexperiences of the famous cyclist who fails as a public figure due todoping. By focusing on his achievements and the failure that dopinglands him into, the narrator allows the viewer to see the two ends ofthe cyclist. However, the film has not successfully created aninteresting view of the situation due to the contradiction that thenarrator presents. As the narrator, Gibneyis entangled into the success and the fall of Armstrong by trying toexplore the two sides.


&nbspGibney,A. (2013).&nbsp&quotTheArmstrong Lie.&quot&nbspDVD,New York Kennedy/MarshallProductions

Macur,J. (2014). CycleofLies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.New York: HarperCollins

Ryan,M., &amp Melissa, L. (2012).&nbspAnIntroduction to Film Analysis: Technique and Meaning in NarrativeFilm.&nbspLondon:Continuum, 2012