The Equalizer

What if the greatest high-performance athletes – present and past – could compete against each other on a level playing field? If competitive conditions were equalized, would today’s stars come out on top or would they be beaten by heroes of the past?


NEWS! The Equalizer broadcast premiere is Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 8 p.m. ET on CBC's The Nature of Things. New website: TheEqualizerTV.com



Every year, athletes set new world records. But are today’s top performers really better than athletes of the past? Are sprinters faster or do they just have better shoes and bouncier tracks to run on? Are swimmers stronger or do they just have sleeker swimsuits?

In The Equalizer, Steve Haake, a top sports scientist based in the UK, investigates five major sporting events where technology is a factor. He travels to Canada, the US and Germany to meet five world-class athletes whose sport is impacted by the latest developments in technology:

• Canadian sprinter and Olympic hopeful Andre De Grasse
• US Olympic silver medalist and seven-time world champion track cyclist Sarah Hammer
• German world champion freestyle swimmer Paul Biedermann
• German javelin thrower Christina Obergföll
• Canadian kayaker and four-time Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden.

For each of the athletes, Haake examines the variables that go into their winning performance – enhanced athletic gear, training, nutrition and psychology. Then, for the first time ever, Haake equalizes the playing field and challenges them to compete against a legendary athlete using equipment from a bygone era.

Sprinter Andre De Grasse must attempt to beat the world record of the legendary Jesse Owens, a four-time gold medalist at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, while wearing replicas of Owens’ shoes and running on a 1930s-era track. Sarah Hammer rides a 1960s-era bike to compete against British champion Beryl Burton, a seven-time World Champion. Paul Biedermann eschews his full body suit to compete against nine-time Olympic Champion Mark Spitz in his 1970s-era Speedo. Javelin Thrower Christina Obergföll competes against 1980s world record holder Fatima Whitbread using a javelin from her era. And Canadian kayaker Adam van Koeverden trades his computer-designed carbon fibre kayak for a vintage wooden model to challenge 1940s-era Swedish legend, eight-time Olympic medalist Gert Fredriksson.

Each equalizing matchup has a surprising result. The Equalizer finds out how much modern science and technology factors in to achieve new peaks of human performance.

The Equalizer is co-produced by Kensington Communications (Canada) 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. Robert Lang is Executive Producer and Producer for Kensington Communications. Kristian Kaehler is Executive Producer for Berlin Producers. “The Equalizer” is directed by Rebecca Snow, written by Allen Booth and narrated by David Suzuki.


Robert Lang

Rebecca Snow

Additional direction
Kristian Kahler
Robert Lang

Allen Booth

Prof. Steve Haake,
Director, Centre for Sports Engineering Research,
Sheffield Hallam University

Graeme Ball

Music Composed by:
Eric Cadesky
Nick Dyer

Directors of Photography
Chris Romeike (North America)
Sebastian Hattop (Europe)

Additional Photography (North America)
Mark Caswell
Iris Ng
Max Armstrong

Additional Photography (Europe)
Max Preiss
Frederik Klose-Gerlich

Camera Assistant

Scott Burton (North America)
Marcus Zahn(Europe)
Dolly Grip (Europe)
Tina Lea Kuennemann
Colja Krugmann

Drone Operators
Tobias Pleban (Europe)
Christiaan Cloete (Canada)
Brent Murray (US)
Justin Britt (US)

Karen Dougherty
Ulrike Neubecker

Visual Researcher
Elspeth Domville

Assistant Editors
Kyle Carrie-Mattimoe
Conrad Konert
Denise Lee
Josef Beeby

Sound Recordists (North America)
Chris Miller
Mike Filippov
Sean Feldstein
Sound Recordist (Germany)
Thomas Warneke
Tobias Rapp

Production Manager
Eva-Maria Weerts (Germany)
Allyson Luchak (Canada)

Production Coordinator
Jorge Thielen-Armand (Canada)

Post-Production Coordinator (Canada)
Florencia Martinez Carranza

Animation and motion graphics:
Soulpix Hannover
Frank Sennholz
Dimitri Bauer
Nils Dechenthin
Beka Gwarliani

Online editor
Adrian Seywell

Arlene Moelker

Sound Editor
Gary Vaughan

Sound re-recording
Richard Spence-Thomas

Production Accountants
Michele Davis (Canada)
Arlette Heyn (Germany)

Business Affairs Coordinator
Adrianna Crifo

Production Office Managers
Atefeh Sadreddin
Iris Gehlert

Margaret Sirotich

Social Media Manager
Cheryl Gudz

Special Thanks to:

Anthony Cohen
Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University
Amanda Brothwell
Rick Keskinen
Canadian Canoe Museum
Mariposa Bicycles
EIS Sheffield
IAT Leipzig
Stadtwerke Halle
ESTV Offenburg
Mogono Leipzig
Dresdner Bäder
OttoOtto GmbH
Sheffield City Kayak Club
TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen e.V.
Sportmuseum Berlin
Maria Ritschel
Werner Daniels
Greg Steyger

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