Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel is throwing his financial muscle behind an “Olympics on steroids” — whose organiser boasts that athletes will dope “out in the open and honestly.”
Mr Thiel, who made his fortune as an early investor in tech start-ups like PayPal and Facebook, is backing the Enhanced Games, which will actively encourage athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs, reports the New York Post.
The venture — aimed at aiding research into nutritional supplements and biohacks that push the boundaries of human performance — is the brainchild of Dr. Aron D’Souza, a lawyer by training who famously conceived Mr Thiel’s lawsuit against Gawker Media.
He plans to provide more details on April 17 and promote the controversial concept in Paris during the Summer Olympics, which begin in July.
Mr Thiel is among several high-profile venture capitalists who have backed the project, including billionaire Christian Angermayer of Apeiron Investment Group and Balaji Srinivasan, the former chief technology officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
Dr D’Souza would not reveal how much money was raised, telling The Post it was in the “high single-digit millions” — a sum that is “enough to produce the first games.”
Dr D’Souza said that Enhanced Games are negotiating with several host cities “that have requisite infrastructure” though he declined to specify which venue will host the inaugural competition, which he expects to get underway by the middle of next year.
The competition will feature five events — swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, track and field, and combat — and will be held once a year at already-existing venues.
He told The Post that the idea behind Enhanced Games is to allow athletes to use whatever substances they wish “out in the open and honestly” — unlike at the Olympics, where he claims “44 per cent of Olympians admit to using banned substance while only 1 per cent get caught.”
“My body, my choice, your body, your choice,” Dr D’Souza told The Post when asked about the philosophy behind allowing athletes to juice.
“Individuals should be able to make choices about your body and no one — whether it’s a sports federation or the government — should be able to tell them what to do about it,” he said.
He said that the events are open to any athletes — current and former professionals and amateurs — and that allowing them to enhance their performance with substances will enable researchers to get a better idea of what technologies are out there that can boost longevity and “healthy ageing.”
“We think that this will create conditions by which we will get a much larger data pool of athletes and individuals who are aspiring to self improvement through science,” Dr D’Souza said.
He said that the data would be “very useful to determining compounds and therapies to extending human life.”
Dr D’Souza predicted that Enhanced Games would do for anti-ageing what “ChatGPT did for AI.”
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.