Icarus was the debut film for director Bryan Fogel

Jake Schaedler, Staff Writer

Director Bryan Fogel’s Netflix debut documentary film Icarus proves the importance of the truth and lies in sport. Starting out like any ordinary documentary, Icarus seems to have a clear purpose and end goal in sight; Fogel seeks to uncover the truth about doping in professional sports.

Fogel’s childhood fandom of Lance Armstrong helps fuel this idea and it seeks to help ordinary viewers to understand why a professional athlete would turn to such a thing. To achieve this, Fogel quickly decides to make himself the guinea pig by testing certain performance enhancing drugs on himself. To see the results of these PEDs in cycling, Fogel competes in the most grueling amateur race in the world twice, once completely drug free and once while using PEDs to see what the potential difference may be.

Fogel is eventually referred to Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov who agrees to help him safely test PEDs on himself. However, the narrative of the documentary quickly shifts from a personal experiment to a geopolitical thriller.

An independent commission reveals that Russia is being investigated for suspected doping. Fogel quickly discovers that Rodchenkov is behind a doping scheme for almost all Russian athletes that occurred during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. As a result, Rodchenkov quickly becomes a scapegoat for the Russian government and feels his life is in danger.

Like the title suggests, Rodchenkov flies too close to the sun burning his wings and leaving him with a life in witness protection. For Fogel, the film would mark the beginning of uncovering the largest doping scheme known to any sport sponsored by the Russian government. This narrative shifted from experiment to state sponsored captivated audiences across the globe.

Fogel received an Academy Sward for best documentary in 2017 and also won awards at Sundance. In the end, following all the crazy twists and turns of the story we the viewers are left with one thing: the truth.