The scale of the cheating Rodchenkov helps expose is clearest when Fogel meets with scientists and officials at WADA in 2016, and explains that they have spreadsheets detailing every athlete on the state-mandated doping protocol at the London Olympics, and how many of them were implicated. The faces around the table are dumbstruck: a perfect symphony of horror, anger, and glum acceptance. “And he’s sorry? Grigory?” one of the WADA officials asks. It’s a question that neither Fogel nor Icarus really ever answers. The larger point, they emphasize, is that none of this would have ever come to light without him.
You’re 24 years old. It’s the bottom of the eighth, down 1-0, you and Clemens. ‘Visualize,’ you tell yourself, ‘visualize.’ You need this, because the fear still keeps you up at night. What if some young kid coming up takes away your at-bats, then your position, then your father’s approval? It’s the reason you watch endless hours of tape, keying in on every pitcher’s tendencies. That’s why you know a fastball is coming — inside. You can still see the threads spinning. In your darkest hours, this is what you cling to, like a child sucking a pacifier. Head down. Hips turn. Boom. Rounding the bases, your feet never touch the ground.