Monday, February 26, 2024

Olympics on steroids? Yes, quite literally as Peter Thiel, funders back ‘Enhanced Games’

Billionaire Peter Thiel and other venture capitalists are funding ‘The Enhanced Games’, a revamped Olympics-style tournament that “embraces future advancements in medical science,” as per a report by Business Insider.

In not so many words, this means competitors would be allowed to be doped up for their games — with health checks in place, it added.

The event will include games such as track and field, swimming, gymnastics, weight lifting, and combat sports, as per other reports. The inaugural edition is expected in 2025.

VCs backing the games besides Thiel include Christian Angermayer’s Apeiron Investment Group, and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, among others.

Revamping the Olympic Model for the 21st Century

In a press release, Aron D’Souza, president of The Enhanced Games, called it a “renovated Olympics model” that takes into account “accelerating technological and scientific change”.

“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. There is a need for a sporting event that embraces future advancements in medical science amid accelerating technological and scientific change,” he said.

Athlete Health and Stringent Measures

The games intend to implement “health checks before and after competitions” and “advanced screening to check for pre-existing conditions, for example, cardiac risk,” Dr Michael Sagner, MD, a member of the Enhanced Games’ Scientific and Medical Advisory Commission from King’s College London told the publication.

Despite these measures, medical professionals have cautioned against the potential harmful side effects of performance-enhancing drugs, such as mood changes, loss of bone density, and increased risk of serious infection.

The Olympic Games strictly prohibits the use of numerous medications and drugs, including stimulants, anabolic agents, and hormone and metabolic modulators. These substances can influence athletes’ performance by accelerating muscle gains, improving blood flow, or enhancing energy and focus.

Most recently, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva faced retroactive disqualification from the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled a violation of anti-doping rules.

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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 09:47 AM IST

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