Does the World Need an Olympics Without Drug Testing?

Australian businessman Aron D’Souza certainly thinks so

The Olympic rings on display in Tokyo.
The Olympics might soon have a (tainted?) competitor.

Stripped of his medals for claiming victory in the Tour de France after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, who just launched a podcast about “fairness” as it relates to transgender athletes, is nonetheless recognized as owning a world record on the website of the Enhanced Games, the brainchild of Australian businessman Aron D’Souza.

D’Souza, who led billionaire Peter Thiel‘s litigation against Gawker Media over the Hulk Hogan sex tape, has a vision for a “world-class” sporting tournament featuring athletes who are not tested for drugs that will rival the Olympics. Competitors who choose to use performance enhancements will have the full support of the Enhanced Games’ leadership team.

“We believe that science is real and has an important place in supporting human flourishing. There is no better way to highlight the centrality of science in our modern world than in elite sports,” D’Souza said in a press release. “We all know that the use of performance enhancements in sports is an open secret. The safest way to level the playing field is to allow athletes to openly use science to achieve their full potential.”

It’s an interesting argument, one that might be championed by steroid-user athletes the world over. However Anna Meares, a gold medalist cyclist who will serve as Australia’s Olympic chef de mission for the Games in Paris in 2024, isn’t buying it. “It’s a joke, to be honest. Unfair, unsafe — I just don’t think this is the right way to go about sport,” she told The Guardian.

If D’Souza’s dream does come to fruition, the Enhanced Games will feature events in five categories: track and field, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and combat sports. If the event, which has yet to name a host city and will probably never find one, does end up being held, Australian Olympic Committee chief executive Matt Carroll believes it will be “dangerous and irresponsible.”

“We know next to nothing about this organization but sport needs to be clean and it needs to be safe for all athletes,” Carroll told The Associated Press. “The Australian Olympic Committee believes the concept of a drug-enhanced games is both dangerous and irresponsible. The Olympic movement is devoted to clean sport and athletic excellence, celebrating the best in humanity, excellence, friendship and respect.”

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If Carroll isn’t careful, he’s going to be labeled as an “enemy of science” and wind up in the Enhanced Games’ Hall of Shame alongside International Olympic Committee executive board president Thomas Bach and U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis T. Tygart. Per the Enhanced Games, inductees into the Hall have “vilified enhanced pioneers” and have actively promoted “anti-science mandates” to the degree that “human progress has been restricted.”

The idea of ‘roided-up athletes competing in combat sports is somewhat intriguing, but we’ve actually already seen it before. Remember American Gladiators?

A potential Olympics competitor, the Enhanced Games are similar to “American Gladiators.”

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