Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, has made a big funding in a sports activities competitors that brazenly embraces using performance-enhancing medication. This transfer has sparked a significant debate on the potential dangers to athletes’ well being and the integrity of the game.
What Occurred: Thiel just lately disclosed his involvement in a “multi-million greenback” seed spherical for the Enhanced Video games. This privately funded sports activities occasion payments itself because the “Olympics of the longer term,” as reported by Forbes on Friday. The video games won’t conduct drug checks, citing their embrace of science in sports activities and their dedication to being the “most secure worldwide sporting occasion in historical past.”
Thiel is joined by different high-profile traders, together with Balaji Srinivasan, a cryptocurrency investor, and Christian Angermayer, a biotech investor. The video games will deal with particular person sports activities, with occasions in 5 core classes: athletics, aquatics, fight, gymnastics, and energy.
The Enhanced Video games additionally intention to be essentially the most inclusive sports activities league in historical past, welcoming all adults to compete, no matter their pure, adaptive, or enhanced standing. The registration for the video games will open in late 2024, with the exact dates but to be introduced.
Why It Issues: The Enhanced Video games’ stance on doping immediately contradicts the World Anti-Doping Company’s (WADA) place. In August, WADA’s panel concluded that marijuana use by athletes violates the “spirit of sport” and determined to maintain it on the prohibited listing. This determination was made after reviewing proof on marijuana use by athletes.
Thiel’s funding within the Enhanced Video games additionally follows a collection of controversial doping incidents in worldwide sports activities. In February 2022, American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from the Olympics after testing positive for cannabis, whereas Russian determine skater Kamila Valieva was allowed to compete regardless of the same offense. This sparked a debate about double requirements and racism in doping sanctions.
Valieva was later banned in January 2024 from competing internationally for 4 years for anti-doping violations on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Photograph by mark reinstein on Shutterstock