Dan Cogan, left, and Bryan Fogel, winners of the award for best documentary feature for “Icarus” pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. An Oscar win for the doping documentary “Icarus” is “a great addition” to ongoing efforts to combat corruption in sport, says a Canadian investigator whose work helped severely limit Russia’s participation in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Doping documentary’s Oscar win aids efforts to combat corruption in sport

An Oscar win for the doping documentary “Icarus” is “a great addition” to ongoing efforts to combat corruption in sport

An Oscar win for the doping documentary “Icarus” is “a great addition” to ongoing efforts to combat cheating in sport, says a Canadian investigator whose work helped limit Russia’s participation in last month’s Winter Olympics.

London, Ont., lawyer Richard McLaren, whose damning report for the World Anti-Doping Agency concluded widespread, state-sanctioned doping among Russian athletes, says the best documentary feature prize capped a thrilling weekend of Oscar parties and celebrity hob-nobbing.

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, McLaren said Tuesday he hopes the accolade and increased attention will allow the film — and his findings — to reach even more audiences and thereby shed light on a scandal that continues to rock the sporting world.

“It was quite the evening, it was quite the weekend,” said McLaren, buoyed by a new, unexpected platform to champion integrity in competition.

“The film informs people in a way that reports can never do, entertaining people as well as informing them about what’s going on. I welcome it as a great addition to the work I’ve done.”

McLaren appears several times in the Netflix film, directed by Bryan Fogel, who chronicles his encounter with Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory and a key whistleblower on the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Russian Olympic athletes.

Olympic officials allowed Russian athletes who could prove they were clean competitors to participate in South Korea as “Olympic athletes from Russia,” under a neutral flag and with a prohibition on the national anthem.

Related: Russia’s Olympic ban lifted after doping scandal

McLaren appears several times in clips from press conferences detailing corruption at different stages of the investigation, while fellow Canadian and former WADA president Dick Pound also appears in interviews.

McLaren said his foray into Hollywood’s most prestigious event included a pre-party Saturday night for everyone involved in the production.

“At the end of it they thanked me and called me the hero of the piece because without me none of that, the documentary, could have been done,” he said.

The next night was the Oscar gala, which McLaren skipped in favour of Elton John’s annual AIDS fundraiser and dinner.

McLaren said he would have been “a long ways away” from the action at the Oscars.

“I thought, ‘It makes more sense to go to the Elton John (party). There are lots of celebrities at that,’” he said.

McLaren even got to meet the megastar, but says he doubts John knew who he was. But others did seem to know him, and approached him as if he was a celebrity himself.

“A number of people came up that recognized me and talked to me. It was a fantastic evening, it was magical,” says McLaren.

McLaren even got to meet the megastar, but said he doubts John knew who he was. Others did seem to know him, and approached him as if he was a celebrity himself, he said.

“A number of people came up that recognized me and talked to me. It was a fantastic evening, it was magical,” said McLaren.

“I always have wanted to go to the Oscars…I never dreamt in my wildest dream that I would be in a film that was in the nominated movies for the Academy, and then there I was. And we won. Terrific.”

As for the state of things today, McLaren said the two Russian athletes caught doping in South Korea does not suggest there’s a wider problem.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say there was an attempt to manipulate certain athletes doping procedures at the Games on any scale other than by those particular individuals,” he said.

But he was bothered by the International Olympic Committee’s decision to lift Russia’s ban Feb. 28 shortly after the Games, noting it stands at odds with two of the IOC’s own commissions that have each recognized systematic manipulation of doping control procedures.

“They look at the issue more as an international/political issue and less as a sporting/doping issue,” he noted.

McLaren said “Icarus” will continue the battle against corruption, calling it “a pretty powerful information package” that can be viewed in more than 100 languages.

“That’s why all the work was done by them to do ‘Icarus,’ and by me, to do the reports for the World Anti-Doping Agency,” he said. “The idea is to uncover what’s wrong, because you can’t really correct things until you know what’s wrong and what’s going on.”

Related: ‘Shape of Water’ Oscars wins called a ‘watershed moment’ for Canadian film

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Half million dollars change Langley couple’s life

Richard and Frances Laidlaw contemplate travel and moving

Liberal hopeful aims to claim candidate spot in Langley-Aldergrove

Leon Jensen was the 2015 candidate in Langley-Aldergrove.

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Pedestrian killed, two injured in three-vehicle crash in Coquitlam

Road closures in effect following collision

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read