The Equalizer (2016)
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This sports science investigation reveals who wins when the greatest athletes – present and past – compete against each other on a level playing field.

The Equalizer is co-produced by Kensington and Berlin Producers (Germany) for broadcast on CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things (Canada), SRC (French Canada), Ici Explora (French Canada), ZDF (Germany), Arte (Germany/France), and other international broadcasters.


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The Equalizer is a companion to our 2018 film on winter sports: Champions vs. Legends.


Nominated, Best Sports Program, Canadian Screen Awards, 2016

Winner Platinum REMI, Worldfest Houston

Finalist, International Sport Film Festival, Palermo


Every year, athletes set new world records. But are today’s champions really superior to legends of the past? Or are they only faster because their equipment is more high-tech?
To find out, renowned sports scientist Steve Haake meets five top athletes, and challenges them to beat the world records of athletic legends while using old-school gear.

Sprinter Andre De Grasse attempts to beat the world record of the legendary Jesse Owens while running on a 1930s-era track and wearing replicas of Owens’ shoes. Sarah Hammer rides a 1960s-era bike to compete against legendary British cyclist Beryl Burton. Paul Biedermann trades his full-body swimsuit for a 1970s-era Speedo to compete against nine-time Olympic Champion Mark Spitz. Christina Obergföll throws a 1980s-era javelin to compete against 1980s world record holder Fatima Whitbread. And Canadian kayaker Adam van Koeverden trades his carbon fibre kayak for a vintage wooden model to challenge 1940s-era Swedish Olympic legend Gert Fredriksson.

In every event, the winner is impossible to predict. Taken together, the matchups reveal the effect of technological advances on performance, and something shared by athletes of every era: the innate human drive to win.