Alex Gibney won an Academy Award in 2008 for his documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. The following year, Gibney began following infamous cyclist Lance Armstrong as he attempted to come back from retirement to win yet another Tour de France. What was supposed to be an inspirational look at one of the most celebrated athletes in the U.S. became a close look at the downfall of an image that was too good to be true.
For years Lance Armstrong had been accused of doping during his Tour de France days. The cyclist always rejected the claims and passed mandatory tests. However, in 2010 U.S. authorities began taking a serious interest in the allegations, and several of Armstrong’s former team members later testified against Armstrong. Last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency leveled sanctions against Armstrong for the use of doping, and the man was stripped of all of his Tour de France titles. Though he had continued to deny doping allegations throughout 2012, Armstrong came clean to Oprah Winfrey in a much-publicized January 2013 interview.
All of this has been captured in Gibney’s new movie, titled The Armstrong Lie. The movie will be screened at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend, and is almost guaranteed to be one of the most uncomfortable sports documentaries ever made. A small snippet of the movie was released today, showing Armstrong just after his Oprah interview, rambling about still being misunderstood: