© Copyright – 2024 – Athletics Illustrated

On June 29, 2023, Athletics Illustrated published an opinion article, “The Enhanced Games: A farce of a concept that will not fly.”

From an ethics perspective, the health question may put athletes at risk. That is if they are free to use performance-enhancing drugs. In theory, if you want to play, you must pay (the piper) or lose the competitive advantage. Although some athletes have gone on to live normal healthy lives after a career with doping, some are apparently at risk for cancers, Lyle Alzado, comes to mind. Some otherwise healthy athletes have dropped dead in competition. Pseudoephedrine, a stimulant and EPO, a widely-used red blood cell booster, may make blood more viscose. Some distance athletes, although rare, may have had sudden death from EPO use. So, is allowing doping risking lives and general health? It may be so.

In terms of offering an even playing field, it may not. For example, two athletes on the same protocol of drugs may have very different responses, very much like the varied responses to super shoes. Like drugs, with super shoes, athletes need to pay to play or risk losing. The outcomes of the health concerns may or may not come to the fore, but the Enhanced Games are a go, with funding from a set of venture capitalists.

Athletes who take part in the Enhanced Games may be assumed “likely to dope” by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Athletics Integrity Unit and national anti-doping agencies. It will be fascinating to see which athletes will throw their career ambitions to the wind.

News Release

The Enhanced Games, the modern reinvention of the Olympic Games that does not have drug testing, is pleased to announce the closing of its Series Seed funding round with the participation of leading venture capitalists including Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan. 

The multi-million dollar round gives Enhanced the financial foundations to deliver a world-class sporting event. “The Enhanced Games is pleased to have the support of Christian, Peter, Balaji and all our other investors. They see the vision of a new model of sports, that openly celebrates scientific innovation and honestly represents the use of performance enhancements in sports today”, said Aron D’Souza, President of the Enhanced Games. “Unlike the Olympic Games, Enhanced believes that excellence deserves to be rewarded. Support from the world’s leading venture capitalists enables us to create the structures that pay athletes fairly.” 

Image from the homepage of the Enhanced Games website with model-athlete hold the Games’ logo on the flag.

“Contemporary drug testing practised in sports today is not necessarily about athlete safety; it often skews the public perception of fairness and health in competitive sports. Enhanced will be adopting a sophisticated safety protocol which puts the athlete’s health first – including comprehensive health checks before and after competitions. As well as advanced screening to check for pre-existing conditions, for example, cardiac risk,” said Dr Michael Sagner, MD, of King’s College London and a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Commission of the Enhanced Games. 

With private-sector funding and incentives, the Enhanced Games aims to deliver a profitable event without burdening taxpayers. “By focusing on world records in popular sports such as track and field, swimming, gymnastics, weight lifting and combat sports, we can eliminate wasteful infrastructure spending and reinvest to fairly pay all athletes,” said D’Souza. 

Christian Angermayer, a pioneer in the biotech, longevity and mental health sectors, who, in addition to his investment, joins the Enhanced Games as a co-founder declared, “I was instantly drawn to Enhanced Games’ forward-thinking ethos and its alignment with many elements of my own vision for the Next Human Agenda. Its core mission centres on building a platform that not only improves the safety and fairness of competition but also stimulates scientific breakthroughs and nurtures human advancement. The Enhanced games will undoubtedly inspire the public’s imagination and reinforce the profound impact of science on human progress.” 

“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. In the era of accelerating technological and scientific change, the world needs a sporting event that embraces the future, particularly advances in medical science,” said D’Souza. 

Dr Aron D’Souza is the President of the Enhanced Games. He read law at Oxford University and has a PhD in intellectual property law. 

Christian Angermayer is a German serial entrepreneur and investor. Christian is committed to building a future in which technology empowers people to live longer, healthier and happier lives through his focus on the “Next Human Agenda.” See https://apeiron-investments.com/ 

Peter Thiel is a German-American billionaire entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Thiel co-founded Founders Fund, PayPal and Palantir Technologies, and was the first outside investor in Facebook. 

Dr Michael Sagner, MD, is an advisor on Ageing Research at the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine at King’s College London, Director of the European Society of Preventive Medicine and a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Commission of the Enhanced Games.