Former world champion sprinter James Magnussen has agreed to come out of retirement and undertake a course of banned supplements to try to break the long-standing world record in the 50-metre freestyle.
The 32-year-old Australian, who won the 100m freestyle world title in 2011 and 2013 as well as an Olympic silver at the distance in London in 2012, has been offered $1 million to make the attempt by the organisers of the Enhanced Games.
Founded by Aron D’Souza, the Enhanced Games describes itself as “the Olympics of the future” and will allow athletes to take substances banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code to improve performance.
“I thought it was an interesting concept from the first time I heard it,” Magnussen told Sydney’s SEN radio on Friday.
“We’re pretty aware as Olympians, particularly in Australia, that performance enhancements are going on in other countries … but it’s not a level playing field internationally. “I thought for the right price, this would be a very interesting pursuit … for a million bucks, I reckon I could break that 50-metres record.” Cesar Cielo has held the one-lap record of 20.91 seconds since 2009, when he set it at the Brazilian Championships while wearing a “super-suit”.
The suits were banned from international competition a few weeks later. Magnussen, who retired from competitive swimming in 2019 and has a personal best of 21.52 in the 50m sprint set in 2013, said he would take no chances with his health.
“I want to go to America, I want to get the right advice and take the right supplements,” he added.
“I’d like to document it through video form. Show how it can be done safely, properly, and create an athlete we haven’t seen before.”
No date or venue has yet been set for the inaugural Enhanced Games, which will also involve athletics, gymnastics and combat sports.
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