Icarus Documentary Wins Oscar

Icarus, a film about doping in sport that ballooned out into a documentary about Russian doping in Sochi, has won an Oscar for Best Documentary. Via the New York Times:

What started as a wild idea turned into something more dangerous in “Icarus,” a documentary that had the good fortune to be filming when bad news broke.

Bryan Fogel, the director and an amateur bike racer, planned to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs by taking them himself and then trying to evade detection. The idea, a sort of “Super Size Me” with steroids instead of Big Macs, brought him into contact with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who led Russia’s antidoping laboratory for Olympic athletes.

Early scenes show Mr. Fogel injecting himself (needle-phobics, beware) with substances, then charting his performance as he meets with specialists and makes video calls with Dr. Rodchenkov.

Months into the plan, Dr. Rodchenkov and Russia came under investigation for widespread doping at the Olympic Games. Mr. Fogel stops his own story and puts the focus entirely on Dr. Rodchenkov, who leaves Moscow for the United States. In interviews the doctor outlines Russia’s widespread steroid program and the clandestine steps taken to cover it up.

Those revelations were first made public months before the 2016 Olympics, when Dr. Rodchenkov’s detailed confession about state-sponsored cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games appeared in The New York Times. In fleeing Moscow, Dr. Rodchenkov feared Russian reprisals, and the anxiety shown here is palpable; the doctor was eventually put into protective custody by the American government.

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