A new documentary about doping whistleblower Dr Grigory Rodchenkov will be released on Netflix on Friday (August 4). The film came about when comedian and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel attempted to explore the impact of performance-enhancing drugs by doping himself, only to find himself taking advice from the figure at the heart of the recent Russian doping scandal.
Icarus began with Fogel setting out to prove he could outsmart doping tests with US anti-doping experts pointing him in the direction of Rodchenkov, who was then head of Moscow’s Anti-Doping Centre.
However, as the film progressed, it became clear that this man was not only central to Russian anti-doping efforts, but to its doping ones too.
“It took me some time to realise that Grigory wasn’t the salmon,” said Fogel. “He was the great white shark.”
Rodchenkov apparently became more and more anguished about Russian doping practices in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Summer Games and ended up blowing the whistle on the state-backed programme designed to help drugs cheats escape detection.
The film shows how Fogel helped the Russian flee to the US and then, when two of his former colleagues died “unexpectedly”, arranged for him to meet with reporters from the New York Times to tell his story.