Lance Armstrong saw his public status sink after admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win his Tour de France titles, but the cyclist now thinks he can follow President Bill Clinton’s formula for a comeback.
In a recent interview, Armstrong revealed that Clinton is a personal hero, mainly because of the president’s quest for redemption after his own personal failings. Armstrong noted how Clinton recovered from infidelity and an impeachment to become a beloved public figure.
“Ultimately, people forgive and forget and remember the good stuff you did,” Lance Armstrong told Texas Monthly. “Is it hard to do? Yeah. But Clinton did it. He loves to work, he loves people, he loves to hustle.”
Armstrong continued: “He’s a hero of mine. He’s a tough guy, he’s smart, surrounded himself with good people. And 10 years later, he’s president of the world. It can be done.”
If Lance Armstrong is to make his own comeback, he will have a lot of work to do. The cyclist was recently voted as the most disliked athlete in America, and even after his public confession with Oprah Winfrey critics still think Armstrong has a lot to do to win back the public’s trust.
“It’s been a bloodbath,” Armstrong told Texas Monthly. “But we expected that. You gotta put that stake in the ground and say, ‘Okay, we’re turning it around.’ That had to happen first.”
Deadspin pointed out that Lance Armstrong is lacking many of the qualities that made Bill Clinton’s comeback possible.
“He literally makes you like him,” wrote Sean Newell. “He even lied right to our faces and yet, as Armstrong said, there he is: president of the world. That’s not because he loves to work and hustle, that’s an innate quality. And as we’ve come to learn, there’s never been anything inherently likable about Lance Armstrong. When people love you for what you did, and that all goes away, all that’s left is what you are.”
If Lance Armstrong wants to become like Bill Clinton, he will also have much more he needs to recover. While Clinton held his presidency throughout his cheating scandal, Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour de France titles, lost his endorsements, and was kicked off the charity he founded, Livestrong.