Sports doping film proves Russia meddled in US elections - producers
The makers of a critically acclaimed documentary exposing the level of state-sponsored doping in Russian athletics have said their film is proof of the country's meddling in the US elections.
Speaking ahead of a screening of Icarus in London, producer Dan Cogan said: "The film set out to be about doping in sports, but it ended up being an expose on the level to which Russia is willing to pervert and corrupt international systems of every kind for its own ends."
The film, which was released last summer and has just been nominated for a Bafta, began as an experiment by director Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist, to see if doping could take him to the very top of the sport.
He enlisted the help of then-head of Russia's anti-doping agency Dr Grigory Rodchenkov to devise him a doping regime to help him beat the system.
As the film progressed, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) began investigating Russian athletics, Dr Rodchenkov turned whistleblower, revealing how doping was actively sponsored and protected by Vladimir Putin's government.
"This film demonstrates a continuum from sport on the soft power end on one end, to politics and hard power of Russia's continued manipulation of the rule of law, of international systems and the integrity of the systems," said Cogan.
"Hopefully what people will take away from the film is that if they are willing to do this in sports, look at what they are willing to do somewhere else, that's even more important."
He added: "I think the United States government has to get its shit together and organise and understand that Russia is an existential threat to the integrity of the democratic process and the rule of law in the United States, as seen particularly through our election process."
Cogan and Fogel say that their number one concern is Dr Rodchenkov's safety, and say that one of the biggest benefits of the film's slew of awards nominations is keeping his profile high.
They accuse the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of completely abandoning him, and of bowing to Russia by allowing their athletes in through the back door at the upcoming winter games to compete as neutral "athletes from Russia".
Fogel said: "Here has been uncovered the single biggest conspiracy in sport history, that changes all of Olympic history.
"It calls into question every single medal ever won by every Russian athlete across all sports, across all Olympic Games, and the penalty is essentially a slap on the wrist."