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Enhanced Games chief says ’50 to 100′ Paris Olympians ready to sign up

This concept met with disdain by the Olympic movement.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has called the Enhanced Games 'dangerous and irresponsible'
The World Anti-Doping Agency has called the Enhanced Games 'dangerous and irresponsible' - Copyright AFP Andrej Ivanov
The World Anti-Doping Agency has called the Enhanced Games 'dangerous and irresponsible' - Copyright AFP Andrej Ivanov

Between 50 and 100 athletes set to compete at the Paris Olympics are “in the sign-up process” for the inaugural Enhanced Games, where doping will be allowed, the event’s chief claims.

Aron D’Souza, who founded the Enhanced Games in 2023 to boost athletes’ incomes, made the declaration to News Corp newspapers in Australia on Sunday.

“We have a great many who are in the sign-up process at the moment, who are competing at (the) Paris (Olympics),” said D’Souza of his maiden Games, which are slated for 2025 with venue and broadcast negotiations “well-advanced”.

“I would hope 50-100 is (the number) of Paris Olympic alumni who would be competing at the first Games,” he added, without specifying whether the sign-up process was a written contract or simply verbal interest

“You will see at the Paris Olympics, some athletes are going to be very open about the Enhanced Games concept. We have quite a plan for the Paris Olympics.”

The Olympians would come from across the Enhanced Games’ five core disciplines -– swimming and diving, track and field, weightlifting, combat sports and gymnastics.

Under its model, athletes would get a base salary with million-dollar bounties for world records.

They would not be subject to World Anti-Doping Agency rules with competitors able to use performance-enhancing drugs to achieve the feat — a concept met with disdain by the Olympic movement.

WADA has dubbed the Games “dangerous and irresponsible” while World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said anyone “moronic enough” to take part faced being banned “for a long time”.

Former Australian champion swimmer James Magnussen, who won 100m freestyle world titles in 2011 and 2013, is the highest profile athlete so far to publically voice support.

D’Souza said he was not at liberty to name any of the 50 to 100 Olympic competitors, but claimed 1,500 athletes had formally applied to take part in the Enhanced Games since he first put the call out.

He said there had been “great traction” among swimmers and strength sports like powerlifting, but admitted to finding it “a bit more challenging in sprint distance track and field”.

“Our perfect candidate is not the 19-year-old who is going to their Olympics for the first time,” added the London-based Australian businessman, who has backing from some high-profile venture capitalists including American billionaire Peter Thiel. 

“It’s the 28-year-old who has gone to the Olympics twice and won a silver medal and they’re like, ‘I don’t want to become a personal trainer’.

“They feel like they have got a little bit more in them before their ‘retirement’ and put out to pasture at age 30 in elite sports.”

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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