James Magnussen says he’d take performance enhancing drugs for $1 million

Magnussen, 32, was also asked by hosts on the Hello Sport Podcast about the concept and whether the man dubbed the “Missile” would consider taking drugs to see how fast he could swim.

“I’m a couple of years out of retirement now. I’ve kept myself in reasonable shape in retirement,” Magnussen told the podcast.

“They’ve said they have a billion-dollar person backing them. If they put up a million dollars for the 50 freestyle world record, I will come on board as their first athlete. I’ll juice to the gills and I’ll break it in six months.

“You can’t teach talent to a swimmer and then juice them up. You’ve got to get a pre-existing fast swimmer. You’re not going to get swimmers good enough.

A screenshot from the website of the Enhanced Games, which wants to create Olympic-like competition for drug-using athletes.

“I don’t know heaps about it [doping] to be honest. I think you just go the pure testosterone. Pump your levels up to a superhuman level and then turn into a freak show.”

Magnussen is a former world record holder in the 100m freestyle. He won world titles in the event in 2011 and 2013. He came second in his favoured event at the London Olympics by one-hundredth of a second.

Magnussen is confident that he would be able to lower his personal best time in the 50m freestyle (21.52 seconds) to break Cesar Cielo’s drug-free mark (20.91s) that has stood since 2009.

Cielo’s time was clocked in the supersuit era, which Magnussen said he would like to also have at his disposal.

Enhanced president Aron D’Souza.
Enhanced president Aron D’Souza.

“I’m going to need one of those supersuits to float me,” Magnussen said on the Hello Sport Podcast. “If I get unbelievably jacked, I am going to sink. Juice and a suit, happy days.”


A spokesman for the Australian Olympic Committee told this masthead in August: “The Olympic movement is devoted to clean sport and athletic excellence.”

Enhanced Games organisers have not announced a payment structure for athletes but say it will be lucrative, should the concept get off the ground.

“All athletes competing in the Enhanced Games will be paid,” said a statement on its website. “Eligible athletes will receive a base salary and compete for prize winnings, which will be larger than any other comparable event in history. The exact prize pool and compensation structure will be announced in mid-2024.

D’Souza is confident there are “hundreds” of athletes ready to put their hands up to compete.

“These are people who have never competed publicly because they are enhanced, and they’re breaking world records in their basement and sending us videos of it,” D’Souza said last year.

“Our goal is to create the most participatory sports event in history.”


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