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Doping documentary 'Icarus' wins Oscar

Joe Robinson
5 Mar 2018

From doping for the Haute Route to exposing the state-sponsored Russian doping programme

Groundbreaking doping documentary 'Icarus' has won the Academy Award for best documentary, becoming the first Netflix-backed film to win the documentary Oscar. 

The brainchild of director Bryan Fogel and producer Dan Cogan, the feature film started by looking to document Fogel using performance-enhancing drugs to prepare for the multi-day amateur Haute Route.

It then quickly spiralled into the biggest expose of doping in sport to date.

Fogel was pointed in the direction of Russia's head of anti-doping Grigory Rodchenkov, who was originally utilised to devise a doping programme to see Fogel ride the Haute Route while also remaining undetected by anti-doping controls.

The documentary then took a turn when Rodchenkov admitted to being vital in Russia's state-sponsored doping programme ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

With the assistance of Fogel, the Russian turned whistleblower and helped to uncover the extent of doping in Russian sport.

Through the evidence provided by Rodchenkov, Russia were subsequently banned from competing at this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Rochenkov is now in witness-protection custody in the USA as a result of his disclosures with it largely believed his life is under threat due to his decision to speak out.

Icarus managed to beat fellow documentaries Abacus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island and Face Places to the award with Fogel praising the work of the now-hidden Rochenkov.

'We dedicate this award to Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, our fearless whistleblower who now lives in great danger,' Fogel said.

'We hope Icarus is a wake-up call, yes, about Russia, but more than that, about the importance of telling the truth, now more than ever.'

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