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PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invests in doping-friendly version of Olympics

Feb 2

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It is an all-time sports debate: Should athletes be allowed to take performance-enhancing drugs to get an edge? Overwhelmingly, the answer has been no, with professional leagues and the Olympics putting strict regulations on doping in the name of athlete safety and fairness. But now an effort to introduce a new version of the Olympic games called the “Enhanced Games” is gaining traction, landing enough funding from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and other venture capitalists to “produce the first games.”

Dating back to ancient times, long before the biogenesis scandal where MLB shortstop Alex Rodriguez and other athletes admitted to or were accused of taking banned substances like steroids, athletes have skirted the line of what is within the rules.

Most notably in the modern Olympic era, Russia was banned from competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing by the World Anti-Doping Agency over a years-long doping scheme and cover-up.

The Enhanced Games, however, doesn’t test athletes for performance-enhancing drugs; it welcomes athletes using them.

Doctors overseeing the Enhanced Games effort said that the testing done by professional sports leagues is not necessarily about player safety.

“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,” said Dr Michael Sagner, member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Commission of the Enhanced Games. “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.”

Critics of the Enhanced Games, including Olympic officials, said allowing doping in sports is dangerous and irresponsible. The head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency called it “a dangerous clown show, not a real sport.”

But the president of the Enhanced Games, Australian Aron D’Souza, said after what he considers was decades of corruption within the Olympics, it is time for a better version of the world games, one that uses science to enhance performance.

“We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to show the world that science is real medicine can really make human beings better,” D’Souza told NewsNation in June 2023.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Jan. 31, D’Souza said that with its private sector funding, the Enhanced Games hopes to deliver a profitable event without burdening taxpayers. D’Souza added that the world needs a sporting event that embraces the future.

The Enhanced Games were set to launch in December 2024, but according to reports, they have since been moved back to sometime in 2025.

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[SIMONE DEL ROSARIO]

DOPING AND SPORTS. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE PRACTICE DATES BACK TO ANCIENT OLYMPIC GAMES.

AND WHILE SPORTS LEAGUES AND THE MODERN OLYMPICS HAVE TAKEN A HARD STANCE AGAINST PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING DRUGS…

WE COULD SOON SEE AN OLYMPIC GAMES-STYLE EVENT WHERE DOPING IS ENCOURAGED. 

PAYPAL CO-FOUNDER PETER THIEL IS AMONG THE VENTURE CAPITALISTS BEHIND A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR EFFORT TO BRING “THE ENHANCED GAMES.”

[Devin Dwyer – ABC News]

“THESE ARE EXPLOSIVE ALLEGATIONS TOUCHING SOME OF BASEBALL’S BIGGEST STARS, INCLUDING ITS HIGHEST PAID PLAYER ALEX RODRIGUEZ.”

[SIMONE DEL ROSARIO]

THIS GOES WAY BEFORE THE BIOGENESIS SCANDAL WHERE A-ROD AND OTHER PRO ATHLETES WERE EITHER ACCUSED OF OR POPPED FOR TAKING STEROIDS. ATHLETES HAVE LONG SKIRTED THE LINE OF WHAT IS WITHIN THE RULES LOOKING FOR A LEG UP IN SPORTS.

MAKING NEWS IN THE MODERN OLYMPIC ERA, THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY BANNED RUSSIA FROM COMPETING IN THE 20-20 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPICS AND THE 20-22 BEIJING WINTER OLYMPICS. THE AGENCY FOUND RUSSIA GUILTY OF A YEARS-LONG DOPING SCHEME AND COVER-UP.

THAT WON’T BE A PROBLEM FOR THE “ENHANCED GAMES” – WHICH NOT ONLY DOESN’T TEST ATHLETES FOR PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS, IT WELCOMES IT.

DOCTORS OVERSEEING THE EFFORT SAY DRUG TESTING DONE BY PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUES IS NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT PLAYER SAFETY. SAYING:

“…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.”

CRITICS OF THE ENHANCED GAMES, INCLUDING OLYMPIC OFFICIALS, SAY ALLOWING DOPING IN SPORTS IS DANGEROUS AND IRRESPONSIBLE. THE HEAD OF THE U-S ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CALLED IT “A DANGEROUS CLOWN SHOW, NOT REAL SPORT.”

BUT ENHANCED GAMES PRESIDENT, AUSTRALIAN ARON D’SOUZA (DUH-SUZZA) SAYS AFTER WHAT HE CONSIDERS DECADES OF CORRUPTION WITHIN THE OLYMPICS – IT’S TIME FOR A BETTER VERSION OF THE WORLD GAMES, ONE THAT USES SCIENCE TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE.

[Aaron D’Souza – Enhanced Games President]

“WE’RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT SCIENCE IS REAL MEDICINE CAN REALLY MAKE HUMAN BEINGS BETTER.”

[SIMONE DEL ROSARIO]

IN A STATEMENT RELEASED WEDNESDAY, D’SOUZA SAID WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDING IT HAS RECEIVED, THE ENHANCED GAMES HOPES TO DELIVER A PROFITABLE EVENT THAT CAN PAY PLAYERS FAIRLY WITHOUT BURDENING TAXPAYERS.  

D’SOUZA ADDED THAT THE WORLD NEEDS A SPORTING EVENT THAT EMBRACES THE FUTURE. THAT FUTURE COULD KICK OFF IN 2025. 

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