Athletes who use doping and thereby create an unfair playing field: in general, they are seen as a dangerous poison within the sports world and therefore – once caught – they are often maligned for years, sometimes even to their death. Not if it is up to businessman Aron D’Souza, because the Australian is aiming to organize the so-called “Enhanced Games”: a controversial project involving multiple sports competitions in which participants do not have to abide by the rules of the world anti-doping agency WADA. To say it differently: doping is allowed.
The idea is causing quite an outcry, but is nevertheless being realized. Three-time World Champion swimming James Magnussen, for example, has now lent his cooperation to the project. Magnussen has been retired as a professional swimmer since 2019, but is now being paid a million dollars to improve the world record in the 50-meter freestyle in six months from now, while openly using doping, that is. Of course, should he break that world record, it will not be recognized. “For a million euros, I am willing to try this with doping,” said the former top swimmer himself. Magnussen is the first top athlete who has indicated he will participate in the project.
“I’m going to the United States to get advice. I want to take the right supplements. And then I would like to be followed by a camera. That way I can show that it can be done safely and responsibly.” According to Magnussen, it’s also a great way to level the playing field. “We Olympians, especially in Australia, are aware that in other countries performance-enhancing drugs are used. The playing field is not an even level. That’s why this is an interesting initiative.”
In addition to swimming, the Enhanced Games also includes athletics and weightlifting.