Bryan Fogel investigates Russia’s doping scandal in Netflix’s ‘Icarus’
Icarus follows Fogel (Jewtopia), an amateur bike racer, as he attempts to uncover one of the biggest sports scandals in recent history: the Russian doping epidemic. This isn’t a normal exposé piece, however. Fogel makes this a personal experiment, taking performance-enhancing drugs himself in order to observe the changes in his performance and attempt to evade detection.
The Netflix Originals geopolitical documentary-thriller sees Fogel team up with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a renegade Russian scientist and pillar among the country’s anti-doping program. Rodchenkov is a controversial figure, with shocking allegations having placed him at the very epicenter of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program.
Directed by Fogel, Icarus is pegged as “a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth”, as the pair realize they hold the power to expose the biggest international sports scandal in living memory. It’s a bold gambit with accusations leading to Russia’s highest chain of command.
Icarus had its world premiere during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, pitting Netflix against rivals Amazon, Sony Picture Classics, Neon, and Magnolia for worldwide distribution rights. Netflix showed serious faith in the documentary, splashing out $5 million to secure it.
“This has been an intense 3.5-year personal journey that exposed the biggest scandal in sports history”, Fogel commented at the time. “To be able to work with Netflix, a company that is able to launch this story globally in such a big way, with such potential for social and political impact, is a spectacular honor.”
Icarus is scheduled to be released on Netflix on August 4, 2017, exactly one year after the International Olympic Commission prohibited 167 Russian athletes from competing in the 2016 Summer Olympics, subsequently banning the entirety of the Russian team from taking part in the 2017 Summer Paralympics.