LIVE BLOG: Body language expert interprets Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah
It’s time for the interview the whole world has been anticipating — Lance Armstrong comes clean to Oprah Winfrey about doping his way to the top. It has been widely speculated that Armstrong will confess to using performance enhancing drugs during a career that spanned seven consecutive times Tour de France wins and an Olympic bronze medal.
Body language expert Sara Canuso, of A Suitable Solution in Philadelphia, joins Metro live once again to offer real time observations on Armstrong’s behavior during the interview.
Is he diverting his eyes because he is being dishonest? Are those tears really sincere? Canuso helps decode the truth from a man accused of being inherently dishonest.
10:40 p.m. That’s a wrap for the first part of Lance Armstrong’s much-anticipated sit-down with Oprah. Canuso’s take on it? “It was a very controlled interview with next to no emotion,” says our resident body language expert. “It’s hard to imagine all of the years of lying and the people he hurt for him not to have an emotional reaction.”
What will tomorrow hold? If Armstrong hopes to better his self-image, Canuso says he’ll have to turn up the emotion dial. Tonight’s interview made mention of Armstrong’s mother and family, which may help to humanize him for the audience tomorrow. It looks like America will have to stay tuned to find out.
10:20 p.m. As the interview further unfolds the details of Armstrong’s fall from grace, he continues to drive home how he wishes he could go back in time and undo it all. Even so, Canuso questions how real it is. “He’s shown no emotion throughout the interview,” she says. She also spotlights the fact that during Armstrong’s testier moments, he likes to make a fist as if to show his power and strength.
10:10 p.m. Things are getting a little ugly with Oprah asking for the gritty details of Armstrong’s past with Betsy Andreu, the wife of former cycling teammate, Frankie. Betsey and Armstrong had a heated, public back-and-forth over his denial of using performance-enhancing drugs.
“Throughout the interview, he has not looked directly into the camera, which causes a disconnect with the viewers,” says Canuso. “He also has a twisted smile throughout – a sign of sarcasm.”
9:55 p.m. The discussion turns to drug tests and the legitimacy of Armstrong’s claims that he never failed one. “He twists his mouth when saying he passed the tests, a sign of arrogance,” says Canuso. She also calls attention to the fact that he keeps shaking his head, as if to deny the current mess he’s found himself in.
As the tension mounts, he continues to take deep breaths. The pressure’s on for this fallen hero.
9:40 p.m. The tough questions keep coming, gradually taking the conversation into more raw territory. Canuso notes that Armstrong often holds onto his legs, almost like an anchor. In between responses, she calls attention to his almost permanently downcast gaze while he searches for the right answers. “Throughout the interview he has a hard time keeping eye contact,” she says.
9:30 p.m. It’s apparent that Armstrong is taking his time, weighing his words carefully before responding. Admitting to Oprah that he was a bully causes him to bite his lip again, as if that admission makes him nervous. “He is having a hard time keeping eye contact,” says Canuso. “A sign of insecurity or lying. And we know he is not insecure.”
When Oprah suggests they roll the interview footage of Dr. Ferrari, he swallows – a sign of being nervous and not wanting to hear this, she adds.
9:25 p.m. Canuso can’t help but notice that Armstrong uncrosses his legs – an indicator that Oprah has said something that’s forced him to open himself up. Perhaps he’s getting more comfortable in the hot seat?
9:15 p.m. As promised, Armstrong is answering questions in a direct, straightforward manner, but its authenticity is questionable. “You can tell by the tone and composure of his voice he is well rehearsed,” says Canuso. She also notes his habit of both tightening and biting his lips, a red flag for jittery nerves.
“It’s amazing how much he covers his mouth,” she adds.
9 p.m. Let the explaining begin. Leading up to the big interview, Canuso feels confident in saying that Armstrong is coming into it very prepared. “He has been living this lie for many years and truly has created a world around this lie,” Canuso says. From her perspective, that in itself is very different from being caught in the act.
Canuso was betting Armstrong chose Oprah to come clean because she would most likely take a milder tone. But now that the questions are firing, he appears visibly uncomfortable. “He’s covering his mouth,” she says as if he’s saying, “I do not want you to hear what I am saying.”
Armstrong is also looking away excessively – a sign of guilt.