'Icarus' / Netflix

Icarus, the sensational documentary that exposed the state-run Olympic doping program in Russia, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Amateur American cyclist and director Bryan Fogel enlists Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics, to expose the truth about doping in sports. Specifically, the Russian program that helped secure at least 15 medals in Sochi.

According to the documentary and a subsequent report in the New York Times, Dr. Rodchenkov claims he orchestrated the doping of dozens of Russian athletes and helped them avoid detection during the Olympics.

The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes, helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate — and successful — doping ploys in sports history.

It involved some of Russia’s biggest stars of the Games, including 14 members of its cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who won two golds.

In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence service surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.

By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

None of the athletes were caught doping. More important, Russia won the most medals of the Games, easily surpassing its main rival, the United States, and undermining the integrity of one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.

The film won Netflix its first Oscar for a feature film and forced Dr. Rodchenkov into witness protection in the United States after two other Russian antidoping executives died unexpectedly following Dr. Rodchenkov’s revelations.

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Watch ‘Icarus’


More: Netflix’s ‘Icarus’ wins the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature
Related: Russian Insider Says State-Run Doping Fueled Olympic Gold


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