In the new Netflix documentary Icarus, a filmmaker accidentally captures how one of the biggest scandals in sporting history came to light.
When he set out to make Icarus, the writer and performer Bryan Fogel had one objective: to examine how easy it is to get away with doping in professional sport. An energetic novice cyclist, he was bothered by the way that somebody like Lance Armstrong could cheat for such huge numbers of years and never fail a drug test. “Originally,” he explains in the film, “the idea I had was to prove the system in place to test athletes was bs.”
A anti-doping scientist at UCLA introduces Fogel with Rodchenkov, an immediately charming and unique character and has a strangely grasp to handle the doping process of what Fogel should take, and how he’ll feel as he begins his new administration.
Rodchenkov is a cheerfully game accomplice, and at some point Fogel starts to wonder—why is a lab director in charge of anti-doping efforts for the Sochi Olympics showing a relative stranger how to take performance-enhancing drugs and get away with it?
The answer comes in November 2015, when Rodchenkov is heavily implicated in a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency that ties him to state-sponsored doping efforts in Russia.The scale of the cheating Rodchenkov helps expose is clearest when Fogel meets with scientists and officials at WADA in 2016, and explains that they have spreadsheets detailing every athlete on the state-mandated doping protocol at the London Olympics, and how many of them were implicated.