James Magnussen becomes first high profile Australian Olympian to volunteer for ‘steroid games’ where athletes can dope as much as they want

  • Games gain momentum
  • Get billionaire’s support
  • About 900 athletes are ready to compete

Aussie 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 allowed but actively encouraged.

The Herald Sun reported that the champion swimmer seized the opportunity to compete for a $1.5 million prize in the Enhanced Games, an unconventional competition that allows performance-enhancing drugs.

Magnussen has committed to a specialized supplementation regime in his quest to break the world record in the 50m freestyle, with the potential to secure a substantial $1 million prize if successful.

The challenge was initiated by Magnussen and accepted by Aron D’Souza, founder of Enhanced Games, who assured him of the seven-figure reward on SEN.

Australian entrepreneur D’Souza spearheads the Enhanced Games, a controversial competition where performance-enhancing drugs are given the green light to see what the human body is capable of.

Positioned as a direct competitor to the Olympic Games, this unconventional event embraces a no-holds-barred approach to doping to explore the outer limits of human physical ability.

Aussie Olympian James Magnussen (left) wants to compete in the Improved Games

Aussie Olympian James Magnussen (left) wants to compete in the Improved Games

At the Enhanced Games, steroid use by athletes is not only permitted, but actively encouraged

At the Enhanced Games, steroid use by athletes is not only permitted, but actively encouraged

Australian entrepreneur Aron D'Souza is behind the Enhanced Games which he wants to see compete against the Olympics

Australian entrepreneur Aron D’Souza is behind the Enhanced Games which he wants to see compete against the Olympics

It gained momentum in 2024 with several former Olympians – now including Magnussen – pledging to compete in the first games.

The Enhanced Games will also be open to anyone to register, not just Olympians, with the website saying the welcome mat was open to all athletes whether they are ‘natural, adaptive or enhanced, an amateur or a former Olympian’.

Organizers have claimed that as many as 900 athletes have pledged to take part and hope to host the first event before the Paris Olympics, although a date and location have not been announced.

And the Enhanced Games gained serious momentum with PayPal founder and billionaire Peter Thiel throwing his support behind the initiative. He was revealed earlier this week as an investor in the multi-million dollar seed round.

Magnussen had a checkered swimming career in his prime.

His pinnacle came at the 2012 London Olympics, where he won a silver medal in the 100m 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 suppression 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 that’s the right way to go about sports,” she said.

Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), told CNN that the Enhanced Games are “a clown show” and “not real sport.”

A UK Anti-Doping spokesperson told MailSport: ‘UKAD is extremely concerned about the concept of enhanced games and the health risks it can pose to athletes.

“Clean athletes work hard for their right to compete on sport’s biggest stages, knowing that they have done so with integrity and by following the rules.”