The Equaliizer is a one hour television documentary, and an original format that will power more docs in the future.

The Equalizer premieres on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV


We send 5 top athletes back in time to compete against the heroes of the past. But they can't use modern sports technology. They have to use the gear that was used back in the day.

The modern champions

  • Up-and-coming sprinter Andre De Grasse races against 1936 Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, while wearing replicas of Owens’ shoes.
  • World record holder Sarah Hammer will ride a vintage bike to compete against 1960s-era champion Beryl Burton.
  • World record holder Paul Biedermann trades his high-tech full-body suit for a 1970s-era Speedo to compete against nine-time Olympic champion Mark Spitz.
  • Javelin champion Christina Obergföll picks up an old-school javelin to compete against 1980s world record holder Fatima Whitbread.
  • Canadian kayaker Adam van Koeverden trades his computer-designed carbon fibre kayak for a vintage wooden model to challenge 1940s-era eight-time Olympic medalist Gert Fredriksson.

The legendary champions

  • American superstar Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, running the 100 meter sprint in 10.3 seconds.
  • British cyclist Beryl Burton dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK in the 1960s, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles.
  • During his amazing career, American swimmer Mark Spitz set 33 official world records and won 9 Olympic golds, including 7 at the 1972 Olympic Games.
  • British javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread set a world record in the qualifying round of the 1986 European Championships and became World Champion in 1987.
  • Swedish kayaker Gert Fredriksson dominated his sport during the 1940s and 50s, setting world records and winning multiple Olympic medals.

The underlying science

The Equalizer's historically accurate athletic experiments are conducted by acclaimed UK sports scientist Steve Haake, who matches each modern champion with a record-setting athlete of the past, provides them with old-school sports equipment, and challenges them to compete against a legend.

Who will win?

To find out... you'll have to watch. But we will say that what emerges is a new understanding of the impact of technology on sport, and a new appreciation for champions of every era who believe that records are made to be broken.

Watch the trailer!