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Doping-approved “Enhanced Games” receives millions in financial backing

The aim is to create a modern-style Games for social media, which means getting rid of events "people aren’t interested in, like badminton and distance running"

Enhanced Games

The man behind the doping-enthused Enhanced Games, Aron D’Souza, has revealed he received millions of dollars in financial backing for his entrepreneurial idea a year and a half before his first planned Games in the summer of 2025.

In an interview with Sifted magazine, D’Souza revealed that he has teamed up with German-American billionaire and co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, who has invested a “single-digit million-dollar number” into the Enhanced Games. Thiel isn’t the only investor on board; cryptocurrency investor and billionaire Christian Angermayer and Balaji Srinivasan, former CTO of crypto exchange Coinbase, have also invested in D’Souza’s idea.

What are the Enhanced Games?

D’Souza’s idea is to provide an alternative to what organizers perceive as a corrupt Olympics. They criticize the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its alleged exploitation of athletes, lack of payment of athletes and rejection of “enhanced” world records. According to their website, “The Enhanced Games promotes the use of science and focuses on core sports, aiming to break world records and ensure fair compensation for athletes.”  They argue that performance-enhancing drugs, when used responsibly, can significantly enhance training outcomes and allow athletes to reach their full potential.

No distance running!

“The Olympic Games are this ancient model reinvented by a colonialist aristocrat in 1896 for the Victorian world,” D’Souza tells Sifted. “We need to design a modernized Games for social media [like TikTok and Instagram] and broadcast television for short attention spans.”

Like me, you might be asking what sports these modernized/doped Games involve. The Enhanced Games will focus on a limited number of single-person events that are of high interest, like track and field, swimming, gymnastics, boxing and weightlifting. D’Souza plans to dispense with events that “people aren’t interested in, like badminton, curling and long-distance running.” According to D’Souza, team sports, which require more competitors and more “complex” logistics, are also out. 

Rhonex Kipruto
Banned athlete Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto at the end of the men’s 10,000m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. Photo: Kevin Morris

“The core focus of the Games is breaking world records,” said D’Souza. “We only want athletes who have the potential to break world records in sports that actually matter. And so by having a much narrower set [of events], we can deliver much more cost-effectively.”

Million-dollar prize pools

Unlike the Olympics, which only pays medalling athletes, Enhanced Games competitors will be paid a base rate for competing, with bonuses for winning events and setting world records. 

“We anticipate there’ll be multi-million-dollar prize pools for breaking world records,” says D’Souza. “We have to create real incentives for athletes to jump ship from this very established prestigious system.”

For example, if a male sprinter breaks nine seconds for a 100m sprint, D’Souza says there could be “tens of millions in bonuses.” According to Sifted, the Enhanced Games is looking to raise another $10 to 20 million before they plan to put on their first event, in summer 2025. The Games is also looking for a broadcasting deal and sponsorships.

Public reaction

So far, D’Souza’s doped concept has received a lot of hate online, calling it a “danger to health,” “a clown show” and “a joke.” Even World Athletics president Sebastian Coe commented on the Games in a recent podcast interview, saying “no one within athletics takes the Enhanced Games seriously.” 

World Athletics president says track and field will never be drug-free

Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), also called the Games “farcical … likely illegal in many [U.S.] states” and “a dangerous clown show, not a real sport.” The concept has also been shunned by American sprinting legend Michael Johnson, who publically called the games “ridiculous” and an “illogical PR stunt for doped athletes” on social media.

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