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Steroids are very interesting and I didn’t have much of an understanding until watching the movie, Icarus. With the help of anabolic steroids, a person will see a 15-20% improvement in power. It brings into question not only the Russian track and field team who were the first to be banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics but all other sporting events as well. It raises a very interesting question: who wants to watch a fixed event?

First of all, I really enjoy documentaries! I thought that this documentary was well done. Bryan Fogel originally wanted to make this project about how his biking performance could change from one year to the next, yet he inadvertently ended up revealing this huge doping scheme for Olympic level athletes. None of the American scientists from WADA were willing to work with Fogel but they suggested Russia’s Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who has a very interesting backstory, to help him with his doping program. 

Rodchenkov’s story starts in 2008 at the Russian state-sponsored Olympic anti-doping lab. Russian athletes have been doping, and getting away it, since the 1980s but the steroids they were using were dirty. In an effort to provide clean steroids to the athletes, Rodchenkov ended up coordinating an entire doping program. The doctor who had been doing it before called Rodchenkov out on providing drugs to the athletes. Rodchenkov became depressed and attempted suicide which landed him in a psychological facility. After some time there, he received a phone call saying that his case had been dropped and that Putin wanted him to work again. His goal? To figure out how to get athletes into the London Olympics without stopping the doping and with clean drug tests. When asked about whether or not Dr. Rodchenkov was worried about the samples being tested again, he said, “We are top-level cheaters.” I don’t want to give the entire documentary away, but let’s just say Rodchenkov ends up befriending Fogel and they end up breaking the story about how Russia cheated in the last few Olympics. 

I think this can be tied into everything surrounding Trump’s election. If Russia can deceive the world for decades at a time about doping in sports events, I can only imagine how easily they could pervert the election process.  

Definitely check out this movie if you love documentaries or if you want an insight into the dark world of doping in global athletics! It’s available on Netflix and Amazon. 

 

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