Ex-Australian Olympian James Magnussen has agreed to take banned drugs in an attempt to swim faster than the 50m freestyle world record.
The 32-year-old has come out of retirement to announce he will be the first athlete to participate in the steroid-fueled Enhanced Games – where doping will be allowed.
ReutersAustralia’s James Magnussen is the first known athlete to participate in the Enhanced Games[/caption]
One of the fastest swimmers of all time, Magnussen won 18 medals at the Olympics, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games between 2010-2018.
After retiring from the sport in 2019, the Aussie has decided to dive back into the pool to break the 50m freestyle world record.
And he will be paid £792,000 to take banned substances to do so in the Enhanced Games.
Magnussen said: “I’ll juice to the gills and I’ll break it in six months.”
The current men’s 50m freestyle world record holder is Brazilian Cesar Cielo who swam in swimming‘s fastest event in 20.91 seconds in 2009.
The Enhanced Games was founded by Australian-born London-based businessman Aron D’Souza.
He plans to recreate an Olympic-style competition but allow athletes to take performance-enhanced drugs.
D’Souza told the Australian Press Association: “An Australian swimmer, the most important sport in the Australian psyche. I am just so proud that it’s another fellow Aussie.
“I have no doubt now that James has done this publicly there will be dozens, hundreds of athletes ready to join. My phone is blowing up.”
Magnussen, who won 100m freestyle world titles in 2011 and 2013 and Olympic silver at London 2012, has a personal best of 21.52 in the 50m that he achieved 11 years ago.
Despite having the freedom to take any drugs he wants Magnussen has said he wants to seek medical advice first.
“I thought it was an interesting concept from the first time I heard it.
“We’re pretty aware as Olympians, particularly in Australia, that performance enhancements are going on in other countries, but it’s not a level playing field internationally.
“I want to go to America, I want to get the right advice and take the right supplements.
“I’d like to document it through video form. Show how it can be done safely, and properly, and create an athlete we haven’t seen before.”
Enhanced Games claims that “44 per cent of athletes already use performance enhancements”.
And D’Souza has ensured the competition will be “the safest sporting event in the world.”
What are the Enhanced Games?
The Enhanced Games is set to be the first event of its kind.
It aims to support performance-enhancing drugs and not follow the rules of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Founded by Aron D’Souza, the organisation was announced in June 2023 and while not yet confirmed there have been plans to run an exhibition event in late 2024.
The games will include athletics, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and combat sports.
And all competitors will be paid as the website said: “Eligible athletes will receive a base salary and compete for prize winnings.”
Based on Tokyo 2020 Great Britain’s athletes who won gold did not receive a penny for their achievements.
Enhanced Games are set to unveil further insights on April 17 and garner support for the controversial concept amidst the Paris Summer Olympics in July.
Negotiations with potential host cities are underway as D’Souza hopes to host the competition inaugurally.