Lance Armstrong’s body language during Oprah interview. Was Lance Armstrong Lying?

Below are my rough notes from the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah.

Posture Tell
We expected and hoped that Lance Armstrong would be humble and contrite in his Oprah interview. We didn’t see his head down in shame shoulders down as he was asked about his bad behavior. Instead he starts the interview siting up and very comfortable and large taking up space in a stereotypical powerful American male leg cross. It is a blocking cross that protects him but signals his superiority.  This is telling and shows how he feels about Oprah Winfrey. The feet are the most honest portion of the body. Lance’s left leg is pointed away from Oprah Winfrey. Lance’s right leg crosses over his left protecting his pelvis and the bottom of Lance’s right foot is towards Oprah symbolically stepping and stomping on her.

Castle Hand Position
He is also in a double protective sitting position. His legs are crossed and his hands folded and resting on his lap with the fingers interlaced in what I call the castle wall. This hand position gives you something to do with your hands and protects you from frontal attack and is normal for anyone stressed or fearful but he does it in combination with a dominant leg cross of superiority showing he wants to “win “the interview.  He will protect himself and end on top.  He is saying with his body “I want to be in charge and I need to protect myself from this attack. “

As Oprah begins talking about how Lance agreed to this no holds bar interview… “Lance wipes his nose symbolically saying, “This doesn't smell good to me.

Lip Behavior
As she lays out the no holds bar open field interview parameters rules Lance Armstrong's mouth tightens and he brings his lips together. Lance also gives a pursed lip sour taste expression. This will be one of over 30 times he gives the lip suppression cue in the interview that indicate he is keeping in the truth and in this first instance also indicating that he is not looking forward to this interview.

This first set of lip suppression cues are not surprising considering the circumstances that led up to the interview and the stress of any Oprah interview, but it is interesting for Lance to do. He has successfully lied to interviewers and the press for many years. He rarely showed that cue before.  He has been able to present himself so well to the media for so many years.   

Eye Behavior and Suppressed Anger
He does show his acting skills in many of his responses. He is able to look Oprah directly in the eye with no eye movement cues as he responds throughout the interview. He is a confident deceiver. For example, he looks at Oprah directly as she asks him the first question.  He is still sitting in the cross leg castle wall protected and guarded position but he is looking at her with his head but the rest of his body is positioned so he is facing away from her.  He does a micro facial cue as he begins to answer the first question. There is a micro facial cue that is a fraction of the second of a true feeling expressed before the neocortex can control the limbic brain response to the situation of anger. This is going to be a very interesting interview.

Voice cues and Micro-facial cues
Lance says he looked up the definition of cheat instead of answering Oprah’s question, “Didn’t you know how big this (the story the deceit the betrayal) was.  He gets more upset with her. His voice gets louder he says, “You asked me the question and I said I didn't know.” and his head strikes out at her and he grimaces. He feels cornered. You also hear him stutter out his answer and his voice becomes strident. In addition you see a micro facial cue of rage come across his face just for an instant and he bares his teeth at Oprah.

Interesting when asked about his bad behavior he says, “I will spend the rest of my life …” then doesn’t finish the sentence.   This is Lance backing off his responsibility. He hesitates again and begins again, “I will spend the rest of my life trying to apologize to people.” First he does not say he will apologize he says he will try. Then he de-emphasizes others and puts the focus on his pain using the word I and my life.”  “I will spend the rest of my life.
He is self-focused on his pain rather than other focused. Recognizing the severe pain he caused others.  He emphasizes his suffering the price he will pay.

More anger shown towards Oprah.
Lance says, “I am happier today” and she calls him on it and he gets mad at Oprah and replies noting this is not the first time she caught he says, “Once again I said I was happier today.” He was vocally emphasizing the word today saying it loudly and forceful and adding a thrust of the chin forward toward Oprah and an explosive T in today. He then finishes the sentence, “Not yesterday Today.” a reply that makes no sense except to emphasize how he is able to lie by choosing certain wording. As former president Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations (instead of the word intercourse) “He is accusing Oprah of misinterpreting him and shows suppressed anger again when she really just caught him in a lie.

When asked by Oprah if he paid off UCI so that they would look over what he had done.
Lance’s response is fascinating (very similar to his taped interrogation years ago by the way) He sweeps his head from his left to his right. But really his head sweeps forceful totally away from Oprah to retreat from the question then he catches himself and quickly swings it back.  In what I call the Shakespearean, “Thou doth protest too much.” 

Lance then presses his lips together he is overly enthusiastic in his denial which signals to me there's something not quite right in his response. He is lying.

When he is asked about the female masseuse that testified against him, Riley, he brings his hand up to cover his mouth and says, “She is one of those people I have to apologize to she is one of these people who got run over got bullied.” His word choice bullied instead of betrayed shows us that he thinks of the behavior as a school boy playing a game in a school yard.  When Oprah calls him on that sidestep saying, “You sued her and she was telling the truth,” Lance says, “To be honest with you and then rambles on smiling and even slightly laughing as he says “…there were so many people I am sure we did. “ He says it so lightly and races through it and smirks and even says, “I don't remember the many people I don't remember. To say in effect there were so many people I “won this game” I don't remember “is so appalling.  The smirk shows there is dissonance about how he feels about the situation. But the smile and laugh show he is not conflicted about what he did that was bad but indicates that he doesn't like getting caught in betrayal of so many people.

Eye Block
As he finishes this response he does an eye block bringing the eyelids down and keeping them closed more than normal baseline, this shows he feels cornered on this particular line of questioning he does not want to talk about how he sued his friends and terribly betrayed so many people. Normal behavior perhaps, but why didn’t he show shame and guilt?

Fist raised to Oprah
When Oprah says, “you're suing people knowing they're telling the truth what is that?” he responds with a long pause his hand goes up into a fist and he places that fist over his mouth again I believe he’s suppressing his anger his desire to punch Oprah in getting into this line of questioning the anger is all the way up and is tightly held together… To the glare in his eyes the timestamp at this point is one hour into the played interview. I wish I had a freeze frame screen grab of the steel sharp glare of his eyes.

When asked by Oprah did you call Betsy telling the truth about the women in the Indiana hospital he responded with a long pause again preparing what he wants to say to this statement rather than just coming out with the truth in a quick loud smooth flow that is his baseline for honest answers. He also shakes his head no and does an eye blink block and follows that with the glare at Oprah and twisted lips. He avoids answering the question and puts his hands over his knees wrapping them around the knee interlacing the fingers together to put a wall up between him and Oprah he really doesn't want to go here even knowing he agreed to any kind of questioning.

She asked if he made peace with them and he goes “me no” shouting it out and looks at Oprah like she's crazy and snarls again as an attack his wording in his response is telling. “…because they've been hurt too badly.” Notice he abdicates responsibility. The emphasis away from himself they've been hurt too badly instead of the how can they forgive me I've hurt them so badly. Why didn’t he say “because I hurt them so badly?”

Oprah calls him on his ability to rationalize his behavior
On suing the woman on defamation of character because he didn’t say she was fat. saying “Well, I called her a liar called her a bitch but I didn't call her fat.” He smiles and actually raises his body in pride at his skill at playing the right word game. He doesn't feel like he did anything bad. Interesting we see into the way he rationalizes here and he's actually laughing he’s figured it out it was a game to me. He does not say I did harm or I betrayed.

When asked about his under the breath use of the” whore word” Lance’s voice gets rough and he used the filler word as he says “not good” and he brings his chin down as he shakes his head no.

When asked by Oprah,  "when the Department of Justice dropped the case, I have to ask, why? "did you have any influence on that? Lance says with his words no but his head shakes yes. He does not complete the sentence in his response but he does smirk. He then brings his lips together in an eerie clown like closed lipped smile.

This shows he got away with something and he is secretly happy and gleeful that he did. Again in his mind he “won.” that game.

I wish I had I a screen grab of this at 1:18 on the taped show.

Lance says he disrespected the rules then uses the word but to split the answer. Know that when anyone speaks to you and makes a statement and follows it with the word but the truth comes after the word but.  He follows it with. “but because regardless of that generation when you have what was going on at the time.” So the truth he reveals is that he feels it was that generation that was responsible. Then Lance pauses and says, “but that was my choice and touches his chest with closed fingers. That's the first time I feel like at some level Lance is realizing that it was his choice that he does take responsibility.

When asked about his friend George being interviewed.

There are an awful lot of "buts” in his response.  Lance says, “I don't fault GEORGE KAPPY but…. shows in a fact that he does feel George was responsible that he is upset with George. Always listen to what is said after the "but" because that is the truth.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at