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

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

Dog control ramping up on Okanagan Rail Trail

RDNO taking extra precautions to ensure dogs remain on leash

Vernon show supports youth mental health, suicide prevention

Robb Nash will be performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Vernon preps for cannabis legalization

Vernon council tweaking zoning bylaws for non-medical cannabis uses, and cannabis cultivation

Vernon athletes boost WolfPack

Canada West sports roundup

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Vernon Emergency program and Salvation Army team up

Vernon Emergency teams have extended appreciation to the Salvation Army of Vernon… Continue reading

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Headbones Gallery welcomes work of Glenn Clarke

Giddieeyup on display Oct. 5 to Nov. 24

Most Read