Could billionaire-backed Enhanced Games benefit human longevity?

Pro-longevity investors Thiel, Angermayer and Srinivasan pour funding into new competition billed as ‘Olympics without drug testing.’

The controversial Enhanced Games closed a seed funding round this week, with investments from prominent venture capitalists including Christian Angermayer, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan. The undisclosed “multi-million dollar” funding round gets the ball rolling on work to create a major sporting event that challenges traditional notions of fairness in competition.

Billing itself as the “Olympics of the future,” the Enhanced Games will adopt a unique no-drug-testing approach to competition in what organizers say will be a “celebration of science and human enhancements.” Despite the undeniably controversial aspects of such an approach, the founding investors clearly believe that an event of this nature could also help drive the advancement of science – especially in the field of longevity.

Angermayer, well-known for his pro-longevity stance, said that the games ethos aligns with his own “Next Human Agenda”, which envisages a future where technology empowers people to live “longer, healthier, and happier lives.”

“The Enhanced Games will undoubtedly inspire the public’s imagination and reinforce the profound impact of science on human progress,” he said. “Its core mission centres on building a platform that not only improves the safety and fairness of competition but also stimulates scientific breakthroughs and nurtures human advancement.”

Claiming that 44% of athletes already use performance enhancing substances, organizers also say they want to ensure that science and sport can be combined safely. Dr Michael Sagner, MD, an advisor on Ageing Research at King’s College London, is a member of the games’ Scientific and Medical Advisory Commission.

“Contemporary drug testing practised in sports today is not necessarily about athlete safety; it often skews the public perception of fairness and health in competitive sports,” said Sagner. “Enhanced will be adopting a sophisticated safety protocol which puts the athlete’s health first – including comprehensive health checks before and after competitions. As well as advanced screening to check for pre-existing conditions, for example, cardiac risk.”  

There is, of course, also a significant financial aspect to the Enhanced Games, with organizers highlighting the fact that most Olympians are often not paid for their success. According to the games’ web site, all athletes competing in the Enhanced Games will be paid a base salary, with additional prizes for winning that will be “larger than any other comparable event in history.”

“Unlike the Olympic Games, Enhanced believes that excellence deserves to be rewarded.” said Aron D’Souza, President of the Enhanced Games. “Support from the world’s leading venture capitalists enables us to create the structures that pay athletes fairly.”

What could the Enhanced Games mean for progress in the longevity field? Stay tuned for our interview with co-founder Aron D’Souza next week.