- Gaming is gaining momentum
- Have the support of the billionaire.
- Reports that 900 athletes are ready to compete
Australian Olympian James Magnussen has become the country’s first high-profile athlete to throw his support behind a controversial new event where steroid use is not only permitted but actively encouraged.
He Herald of the sun has reported that the swimming champion has jumped at the chance to compete for a $1.5 million prize in the Enhanced Games, an unconventional competition that allows the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Magnussen has committed to a specialized supplement regimen in his quest to break the world record in the 50m freestyle, with the potential to secure a hefty $1 million prize if he is successful.
The challenge was initiated by Magnussen and accepted by Enhanced Games founder Aron D’Souza, who secured him the seven-figure reward in SEN.
Australian businessman D’Souza is spearheading the Enhanced Games, a controversial competition in which performance-enhancing drugs are given the green light to see what the human body is capable of.
Positioned as a direct rival to the Olympic Games, this unconventional event takes a no-holds-barred doping approach to explore the outer limits of human physical ability.
Australian Olympian James Magnussen (left) wants to take part in the Enhanced Games
At the Enhanced Games, steroid use by athletes is not only permitted, but actively encouraged.
Australian businessman Aron D’Souza is behind the Enhanced Games which he wants to rival the Olympics.
It gained momentum in 2024, when several former Olympians, now including Magnussen, committed to participating in the inaugural games.
Organizers have said up to 900 athletes have committed to take part and hope to stage the first event before the Paris Olympics, although no date or venue has been announced.
And enhanced gaming has gained serious momentum with PayPal founder and billionaire Peter Thiel lending his support to the initiative. He was revealed as an investor in the multi-million-dollar seed round earlier this week.
Magnussen had a checkered swimming career in his prime.
His peak came at the 2012 London Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle and anchored the Australian relay team to gold.
However, he faced disappointment at the 2016 Rio Olympics, failing to qualify for the 100m freestyle final and missing out on the podium in the relay events.
“We want to end the oppression of science in sports and let human potential reach its maximum,” D’Souza told Decrypt in an interview.
Former Olympic gold medalist Anna Meares, who is serving as Australia’s Olympic chef de mission for the Paris Summer Games, told The Guardian: “It’s a joke to be honest.”
“Unfair, unsafe. I just don’t think this is the right way to approach the sport,” he said.
Travis Tygart, executive director of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), told CNN that the Enhanced Games were “a clown show” and “not a real sport.”
A UK anti-doping spokesperson told MailSport: ‘UKAD is extremely concerned about the concept of enhanced games and the health risks it could pose to athletes.
“Clean athletes work hard for their right to compete on sporting’s biggest stages, knowing they have done so with integrity and following the rules.”