A total of 4.3 million viewers tuned in Thursday, January 18 to watch the first part of Lance Armstrong’s official interview with Oprah, in which he confessed using performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles over a storied cycling career. As Americans watched, many communicated their reaction to Armstrong’s admission on major social media channels, resulting in more than 1.5 million posts on the topic in the days surrounding the much anticipated interview, with 90 percent of posts appearing on Twitter.
Nearly one-third of commenters conceded that they now think of Armstrong differently after hearing he lied about participating in a clandestine blood doping scheme for nearly two decades. An additional quarter (24 percent) of social media users insisted that Armstrong’s career and legacy are severely tarnished.
Notably, a large number of social media users – nearly one third – say they are not fazed by Armstrong’s confession, noting that they don’t really care. Still, one-fifth of discussions on the topic maintain that Armstrong’s lies and deceiving actions make the good things he did – for cancer research and the sport of cycling – irrelevant.
Only time will tell if Armstrong’s official admission and apology tour will benefit his public image, and help him win back the support of his once-strong and loyal fan base.