Black Russian cocktail among libations offered -- nod to Oscar-nominated documentary's role in Russia's ban from Winter Games
If not for the documentary Icarus, the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea might have had a different character.
Athletes from more than 90 countries marched into the stadium in Pyeongchang Friday night, including competitors from Russia, but there was no Russian flag among the many nations represented. That's because Russia is formally banned from the Games, largely as a result of Bryan Fogel's documentary.
I was actually invited to go to the Games and I'd love to but I'm unable to with timing.
Icarus, one of five films in the running for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, exposed the vast state-sponsored athletics doping program that Russia engaged in for years. The International Olympic Committee cited the documentary and other corroborating evidence in a report explaining its decision to punish Russia for the elaborate cheating scheme. Russian athletes are competing under the Olympic flag instead of their country's banner.
Fogel tells Nonfictionfilm.com the IOC's ban on Russia sounds harsher than it actually is.
"I was actually invited to go to the Games and I'd love to but I'm unable to with timing. I'll certainly be following it with greater interest this year because while Russia, technically, was banned from the Games there have been myriad loopholes within that ban that is allowing now 150 or so Russian athletes to compete neutrally," he stated. "To myself and my team [that] has been kind of a slap in the face to the overall scandal and conspiracy that was perpetrated against clean athletes and sport for the last 40 years."
Below are some pictures from the Opening Ceremonies viewing party at the Hollywood Athletic Club. All pictures by Matt Carey.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.