Deception, steroids and cycling in The Armstrong Lie
Director Alex Gibney profiles one of the world’s most famous athlete’s incredible fall from grace
4 March 2014
Lance Armstrong had been described as 'superhuman', 'a genetic freak', 'not like you and me', 'gifted' and 'a once in a generation athlete'. He won the Tour de France an unbelievable seven times, ran marathons, raised millions through his Livestrong charity and was one of the most recognisable faces from the world of professional cycling. This was all on top of surviving testicular, brain and lung cancer.
His career changed dramatically in 2013 when, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he admitted his use of performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. He immediately lost sponsors, reportedly worth $75 million in one day, and ended his professional career for good.
Alex Gibney’s film began long before Armstrong’s steroid use was confirmed and was originally intended to be a portrait of an athlete returning to competition after recovery from cancer. Having realized that his subject had lied to his face about drug use however, Gibney began interviewing friends, teammates, competitors and those who had initially been denounced as slanderers. What emerged is a complex picture of childhood neglect, overweening ego, massive wealth and libel actions.
Armstrong’s sudden and complete fall from grace is eloquently and beautifully told in The Armstrong Lie, which is described as ‘a tale of ambition that's almost mad enough to be mythic’. Armstrong emerges as a ruthless and charismatic liar who’s overwhelming desire to win caused his eventual downfall.
The Armstrong Lie is showing as part of the Discover Tuesdays strand. Tickets for the film are available now from the Box Office, by phone on 0871 902 5737 and online.