Netflix's latest documentary takes us into the world of sports doping, and we're on the edge of our seats
The world of sports doping just took a turn for the dramatic in the trailer for the new Netflix documentary, Icarus. The first bomb is dropped just ten seconds into the two-minute trailer, as director Bryan Fogel asks Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping division, if he was the mastermind behind the cheating at the Sochi Olympics. Without any hesitation, Rodchenkov answers, “Yes.”
Icarus began when Fogel — an amateur bike racer — recorded an attempt to beat anti-doping tests before a bike race in Europe but quickly took a turn after he got in contact with Rodchenkov — initially as a doping expert, until his colleagues began to disappear.
It then became a race to expose the Russian government for, what Netflix calls “Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program.”
The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, has been widely praised. Sundance even created an award to honor it: According to the festival, the inaugural Orwell Award recognizes “a film that reveals the truth at a time when the truth is no longer a commodity.”
“I was helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate doping ploys in sports history,” Rodchenkov says later in the trailer, as clips from the Sochi Olympic Games play on-screen. The brief moment is both haunting and spectacular, as it implies just how dark the documentary will get in exposing the Russian government’s doping — something Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have vehemently denied.
Icarus was such a hot commodity that a bidding war broke out between numerous major companies, including Sony Pictures Classics, Amazon, and Neon, before Netflix went to buy it for a near record of $5 million.
Icarus will begin streaming on Netflix on August 4th, and we can promise we’ll be watching.