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 CBC-TV’s The Nature of Things (Canada), SRC (French Canada), Ici Explora (French Canada), ZDF (Germany), Arte (Germany/France), and other international broadcasters.
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.
PROFESSOR STEVE HAAKE
Director, Centre for Sports Engineering Research, Sheffield Hallam University
Music Composed by:
Directors of Photography
CHRIS ROMEIKE (North America)
SEBASTIAN HATTOP (Europe)
Additional Photography (North America)
Additional Photography (Europe)
SCOTT BURTON (North America)
MARCUS ZAHN (Europe)
Dolly Grip (Europe)
TINA LEA KUENNEMANN
TOBIAS PLEBAN (Europe)
CHRISTIAAN CLOETE (Canada)
BRENT MURRAY (US)
JUSTIN BRITT (US)
Sound Recordists (North America)
Sound Recordists (Germany)
EVA-MARIA WEERTS (Germany)
ALLYSON LUCHAK (Canada)
JORGE THIELEN-ARMAND (Canada)
Post-Production Coordinator (Canada)
FLORENCIA MARTINEZ CARRANZA
Animation and motion graphics
MICHELE DAVIS (Canada)
ARLETTE HEYN (Germany)
Business Affairs Coordinator
Production Office Managers
Social Media Manager
Special Thanks to:
Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University
CANADIAN CANOE MUSEUM
SHEFFIELD CITY KAYAK CLUB
TSV BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN E.V.
Executive Producer (for Kensington)
Executive Producer (for Berlin Producers)