What could have been one of the all-time greats has turned into an absolute fizzer.
The Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong should have been a tribute to a deadset freak and world-beater.
Instead, Armstrong’s innate modesty — the modesty of a true champion — and Winfrey’s concentration on the champ’s narrow admission of drug-taking, crafted with his legal-PR team, has made it a waste.
This should have been a celebration, an event for the ages.
Armstrong should have been presented with the Oscar, the Emmy, a Tony, the Gold Logie and every other award going.
He should have been recognised as the sporting man of any millennium.
For he has achieved what no other sportsperson — man or woman — has achieved.
Spinner Clarrie Grimmett may have had the LBW law changed to limit him; Walter Lindrum may have had the billiard rules changed to snooker his dominance; England may have employed Bodyline to limit Sir Don Bradman.
But no-one has done what Armstrong has done, and his achievement goes way beyond the seven Tour de France titles of which he’s been stripped.
Simply, Armstrong orchestrated an entire sport — cycling — to be run for his benefit.
From the highest levels of bureaucracy to the lowest Tour competitor — they all danced to his performances.
Armstrong walking on the moon hardly compares.
We’re unlikely to see Lance on the boil on the Tour again.
We certainly won’t see his like, nor the measure of his achievement, again.
What to do about the Tomic boy?
He’s a good lad at heart, no doubt, but how to get the Australian public to take him to their hearts?
What’s in a name? Everything.
Bernard Tomic should become just good old Aussie Bernie Tomic, then he’ll be accepted like Aussie Tatiana, or Aussie Jelena, as the Dokic girl was once accepted.
‘‘Come on, Bernie’’ or ‘‘Give it to him, Bernie’’ or ‘‘Serve it up to him, Bernard’’ just ain’t the same.
When Tomic has his inevitable fragile rapprochement with Davis Cup team captain Pat Rafter for the Davis Cup later this year, you can imagine the tension, especially if Bern doesn’t drop the royal ‘‘we’’, an affectation when referring to team Tomic.
‘‘Bernard, get your head out of your backside. You’re not Lord Muck around here. Work in.’’
No, no, no.
Make it the Aussie colloquial ‘‘Bernie, pull your finger out. If you’re walking, you’re bludging’’ , and the atmosphere changes straight away.
If Tomic is fair dinkum about getting everyone onside in his bid to make the top 10, then Bernard’s got to be Bernie.
Steve Price could change his name to Ray Price or Bernie Price or Lance Price and it wouldn’t matter.
Before a ball is kicked, the St George Illawarra coach is odds on to be the season’s biggest loser and, even if he wins, he’ll lose.
The Saints want to make Craig Bellamy their $6 million man.
Bellamy is a slight favourite to stay at the Melbourne Storm but even if he does, the Dragons are likely to look for second-best: a $5-4-3-2-1 million man.
They’ve virtually told Price he’s third-best and not wanted when his two-year contract expires at the end of the season.
History says when a coach is tacitly told his time is up, a team never performs to its optimum.
There have been no exceptions.
When times get tough, players have an excuse to fail.
The coach is the one in the gun.
Both truisms have been stated six million times: ‘‘It’s a cruel game, coaching’’, and ‘‘who’d want to be a coach?’’.