No Drug Testing Allowed: Will the Enhanced Games Really Happen? | Sports Destination Management

No Drug Testing Allowed: Will the Enhanced Games Really Happen?

Feb 15, 2024 | By: Michael Popke

Some billionaire investors are about to set the sports world on fire and either burn it down or boost it up.


Maybe you’ve heard or read about the Enhanced Games, the self-proclaimed “Olympics of the future” whose website proclaims “sports can be safer without drug testing.” In other words, get ready for a (potential) real-world version of the Olympics on steroids.


PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, former Coinbase chief technology officer Balaji Srinivasan and biotech investor Christian Angermayer are among those fronting seed money for the Enhanced Games. (Angermayer also is a founder of the Enhanced Games, along with businessman Aron D’Souza, who is the president of the Games.)


As Front Office Sports reports:


The audacious concept — once just a Saturday Night Live skitbehind the Enhanced Games: There is a significant gap between the number of athletes who say they use [performance enhancing drugs] and the number actually caught in testing. Rather than continue on that path, why not bring all use out into the open, and champion those drugs to test the boundaries of human performance and help counter the effects of aging? …


The effort will feature competition in combat sports, gymnastics, swimming, track and field, and weightlifting. But serious questions persist. Like any other start-up sports league, the Enhanced Games will be entering an already-crowded market for fans’ time and attention. The business plan calls for competing at Division I college facilities, as opposed to building new infrastructure.

Most directly, though, the Enhanced Games will be challenging both existing laws around drug use, as well as cultural standards that govern much of sports.

No Drug Testing Allowed: Will the Enhanced Games Really Happen? “Contemporary drug testing practiced in sports today is not necessarily about athlete safety; it often skews the public perception of fairness and health in competitive sports,” Michael Sagner, a member of the Enhanced Games’ scientific and medical advisory board and a clinician and researcher in aging and sports medicine at King’s College London, said in a statement from the Enhanced Games, adding that the Games will adopt a “sophisticated safety protocol” that will put athletes’ health first.

The Enhanced Games also will seek to pay all competitors a base salary (something most Olympians do not receive) as they compete for prize winnings, which organizers claim “will be larger than any other comparable event in history.”

Athletes in the Enhanced Games also will receive a free medical screening prior to competing, to ensure they are healthy and able to compete safely. The screening will include an echocardiogram, blood test and genomic sequencing.

At its core, however, the Enhanced Games will strive to, as the website explains, “embrace science”:

The truth is, performance therapy has always been an integral part of human history. Science has always lagged behind humanity’s ambitions. Yet, the latter half of the 20th century has seen the latest breakthroughs in synthetic biology closeted and stigmatized.

When used correctly, the inclusion of performance enhancements can have significantly positive effects on the results of training and exercise routines. Simply put, performance enhancements augment the effects of training.

After years of oppression, we are seeing a push-back against the anti-science dogma purported by the incumbent sporting leagues. 

Enhanced is here to free science and sport from those who would rather it be shackled.

All that said, it’s no surprise critics have emerged. Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, called the concept of the Games “farcical … likely illegal in many [U.S.] states” and “a dangerous clown show.” And Gregory Rodchenkov, the physician who exposed Russia’s state-sponsored doping program that, according to, benefitted more than 1,000 athletes between 2011 and 2015, warned the Enhanced Games would be “a danger to health, to sport.” even mocked the idea of the Enhanced Games with suggestions for other potential events, including “drunken horseshoes,” “bong hit high jump” and “LSD-enhanced no-hitter.”

But D’Souza, who holds a PhD in intellectual property law, is totally serious about his latest venture and believes the Olympics model needs a good shaking up. “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,” he said in late January, after the closing of the Enhanced Games multi-million dollar Series Seed funding round. “In the era of accelerating technological and scientific change, the world needs a sporting event that embraces the future, particularly advances in medical science.”

As of mid-February, D’Souza and his team had not announced any official dates for the inaugural Enhancement Games — even though last year reported on plans calling for them to take place in December 2024.

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