Mar 29 – Apr 4: Narrative

Movie Review: Icarus; a shocking look at systematic doping in Russia -  Athletics Illustrated

I thought this documentary was interesting, particularly in the way that it came together. The director Bryan Fogel intended to prove the insufficiency of the current method for testing athletes by taking performance-enhancing drugs himself and competing while on the drugs. He worked with the director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who later revealed that there was a state-sponsored Olympic doping program.

I don’t have much (or any) investment in the Olympics (or generally in sports) but it was really crazy to see how this experiment played out — Fogel wanted to bring to light the inadequacies of current methods and found this huge conspiracy surrounding the biggest sporting event in the world. It’s tough to think about state-sponsored dishonesty and the fact that it’s Russia is even more disheartening for me.

It’s not like I have a sentimental attachment to Russia or any kind of strong desire to prove the government’s goodness or innocence; there is ample evidence of tampering in the US elections and now, clearly, in the Olympics. There’s just so much fear of this country that I think stems from communism and the cold war and has continued because of shit like this.

In a class last semester I read a lot about Russian interference over the course of the election. Of course, now we know that the Russian government did interfere, but early on there were just threats, and a lot of political scientists and newspapers were pointing out that even if no interference actually occurred, the threats of interference and the rumors of hacking the election were enough to destabilize the election.

In the different classes of political thought or approaches to politics, I definitely fall into the liberal school, which basically rejects power politics and says “let’s focus on development, human rights, and cooperation.” So that’s just to introduce my bias. But for me I’m just thinking, “c’mon, why can’t we just get along?” and I want so badly to end our country’s fear of Russia and China but then Russia just keeps pulling shit and we’re in this endless cycle of propagated fear and then learning we were right all along to be scared.

And then there’s the question, if Russia can infiltrate and cheat in the world’s biggest sporting event, how far can they or will they go? I just don’t like to think about it.