Icarus is Eye-Opening

If you haven’t seen the new Netflix documentary, Icarus yet – watch it. It is a shocking look at the world of international doping in sports. It is almost enough to make you feel sorry for Lance Armstrong. Almost.

I have been a vocal critic of Lance Armstrong and the fraud he participated in during his streak of 7 Tour de France victories. For his misdeeds, he was stripped of his titles and left a disgrace in the sports world. Icarus leaves you feeling that he was just the tip of the iceberg.

In it, amateur cyclist and filmmaker, Bryan Fogel sets out to fool the cycling community by doping leading up to the Haute Route – a 7-day stage race featuring some of the toughest amateur cycling in the world. His stunt reminds you of Morgan Spurlock as he begins a doping regimen recommended by friends of friends. This quest to dope AND fool the system puts him in touch with Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of the Russian anti-doping lab. From there, Icarus turns from interesting stunt to a real documentary with real journalistic investigation and real consequences.

I won’t spoil the story other than to say – this is a must-see documentary if you are a fan of sports.

If it comes up short, I think it may be in that it doesn’t really touch on how widespread this issue is across all sports and all countries. I understand that though because the only hard-fast evidence that was available was of the misdeeds in state-sponsored Russian athletics.

At the very least, this film shows that the ideals of Olympic sports is long gone and when we watch “the games” we are not watching amateurs – we are instead watching the “pharmacological games.” Is Armstrong owed an apology? No – he still cheated and still deceived… it may be just a bit more understandable.

My takeaway is that it is just more of the same issue I pointed out in “The Erosion of Truth.

by Chris Doelle

“The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end.”
― George Orwell, 1984


Also published on Medium.