With the 2024 Summer Olympics now just months away, there's a new international event in the works that's looking to reinvent its predecessor — and some pretty wealthy names are backing it.
We're all familiar with the traditional Olympic Games, which bring together the most elite athletes from countries all around the world to compete in various events. Now imagine the Olympics on steroids — literally.
Founded by Australian businessman Aron D'Souza and backed by some of the world's richest venture capitalists, the Enhanced Games is an international competition that seeks to elevate athletes to their full potential by not only allowing, but encouraging them to use performance-enhancing drugs. Without being bound by all of the rules and constraints of the International Olympic Committee, D'Souza believes this new version of the Games has the potential to "obliterate all the world records."
The IOC's battle against doping began over half a century ago, but the committee's staunch zero-tolerance policy really took hold in 1999 when it supported establishing the World Anti-Doping Agency. Since then, the organization has expanded its list of banned substances several times to include things like anabolic steroids, growth hormones, metabolic modulators, and dozens of other substances WADA deems performance-enhancing drugs.
While the IOC claims these efforts are aimed at keeping Olympic events fair and free of cheating, the Enhanced Games believes it's time to "embrace science" and "push back against the "anti-doping dogma" established in sports.
"Just as the ancient Olympics were revived and renovated in 1896 for the Victorian world, the Enhanced Games is once again renovating the Olympic model for the twenty-first century," D'Souza said in a statement. "In the era of accelerating technological and scientific change, the world needs a sporting event that embraces the future, particularly advances in medical science."
It's an unconventional approach that's bound to raise questions about ethics, athlete safety, and more, and many people — including the Australian Olympic Committee — are already condemning the proposal. But D'Souza has the backing of some big name investors on his side, including Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, Coinbase Chief Technology Officer Balaji Srinivasan, and Christian Angermayer's Apeiron Investment Group.
Through this private-sector funding, the Enhanced Games website says it aims to deliver a world-class international event that also allows the athletes to be paid, all without creating any burden on taxpayers.
"Unlike the Olympic Games, Enhanced believes that excellence deserves to be rewarded," D'Souza said. "Support from the world's leading venture capitalists enables us to create the structures that pay athletes fairly."
The Enhanced Games will consist of five core categories — track and field, aquatics, gymnastics, combat sports, and weightlifting. While an official date and venue for the games has not yet been announced, athlete registration is slated to open later this year.
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