James Magnussen Says He’ll ‘Juice to the Gills’ to Break 50 Free WR at Enhanced Games

by Riley Overend 125

February 09th, 2024 Australia, International, News

Retired world champion James Magnussen said Thursday that he would “juice to the gills” to break the 50-meter freestyle world record if offered $1 million by the Enhanced Games, a budding rival to the Olympics that does not require drug testing.

Financially supported by billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the Enhanced Games quickly put out a statement confirming that Magnussen would receive $1 million if he breaks Cesar Cielo‘s legendary 50 free standard of 20.91 at the Enhanced Games, tentatively scheduled for next summer.

Magnussen, 32, has been retired since 2019. The two-time Australian Olympian has only been as fast as 21.52 back in 2013, but he told the Hello Sport Podcast that he could break the world record in six months if he took performance-enhancing drugs.

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

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

Magnussen won gold in the 100 free (47.63) at the 2011 World Championships and again in 2013 (47.71), earning silver in the event at the London 2012 Olympics (47.53) in between. He also said on the podcast that he’d want to wear a “supersuit,” which Cielo wore during his world record in 2009.

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

The Enhanced Games seeks to explore the limits of human potential by embracing science and paying all athletes who participate, with additional bonuses based on performance. You can read more about their radical philosophy here.

James Magnussen is one of my sporting heroes,” said Enhanced Games president Aron D’Souza, who led Thiel’s litigation against Gawker Media involving wrestler Hulk Hogan. “Watching him compete as a natural athlete at the 2012 London Olympics inspired me. Today, he inspires me as one of the first sporting heroes of science. Magnussen has the potential to show us what the human body, improved through science, is truly capable of.”

“Whilst we have not spoken with James yet, we wish to publicly confirm the prize money that will inspire him and many other Olympic heroes to join the Enhanced Movement,” D’Souza added. “I do not doubt that James Magnussen, so known for his tenacity, determination and giant 6 foot 7 inches form, can break swimming’s most important world record. We will write James Magnussen a one million dollar cheque for breaking the 50-metre freestyle world record at the Enhanced Games.”

“There will be multiple million dollar prizes at the first Enhanced Games. The first enhanced athlete to publicly break Usain Bolt’s world record will also get at least one million US dollars.”

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Kudzai Makova
2 months ago

I reckon the polyurethane suits of 2009 would be allowed in the “Enhanced Games”… that will significantly aid perfomances in the 50- 400m distances particularly…. Magnessusen will easily be going sub 22.00 in the 50 free and sub 48.00 in the Jaked-01/X-glide suits… The WR though will require something extra… it’s an intersting challenge albeit with considerable health risks for athletes involved

Last edited 2 months ago by Kudzai Makova
2 months ago
Last edited 2 months ago by Bob
Stephen J Thomas
2 months ago

Embarrassing really. He is still not over missing gold behind Nathan Adrian by 0.01 fourteen years ago 🙁

Reply to  Stephen J Thomas
2 months ago

12 years

2 months ago

Anyone entering this must get a permanent ban from real events. Is the event organiser liable for deaths or is it on the idiots who enter?

Reply to  Chlorinetherapy
2 months ago

They’ve got a lot of lawyers working with this thing. I would guess that they’re going to figure out how to protect themselves legally.

Swim Dad
2 months ago

I thought Roland Schoeman would be part of this.

Reply to  Swim Dad
2 months ago

He is a member of the Athlete Advisory Commission for the Enhanced Games. Another former swimmer, Brett Fraser, is also part of that commission.

Not entirely clear what the commission’s role is, but he is involved.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

and he wants us to accept him back into this sport with open arms and not suspect anything?? wow

2 months ago

I’m assuming (and I might be completely wrong here) this has something to do with the “fastest man in textile” title – aka the consolation WR – he carried for a few years (100 free)… and that he doesn’t have an Olympic gold medal hanging on his wall. If he wasn’t such a tool to begin with (which makes the petty reasons plausible), my first assumption would be, it was just a dig at Cielo.
Either way, why would you want to taint your legacy that way? Even for 1million…

Reply to  FST
2 months ago

I don’t see how this taints his legacy. He isn’t taking a gold or record from anyone clean, is not being deceptive in any way, etc. What am I missing?

Reply to  FST
2 months ago

1 million is a pretty good reason. Idk how it is in Australia but its not like he has a ton of notoriety anyways

2 months ago

I respect the honesty. Most already juicing now anyway

Reply to  ElvisVB
2 months ago

Agreed. Realistically, that 20.9 is on borrowed time anyway, with all the talent in that event right now. It’s going to be funny when that gets broken and is just as fast (or faster) than the officially “enhanced” time, and all the people who are up in arms here are going to insist it was all elbow grease and good vibes.

I get it, there are potential health effects (as I understand it, not many with testosterone if well managed in terms of dose, cycle, duration, and supporting drugs), but we as a society still watch the Tour de France and idolize Arnold Schwarzenegger so I don’t understand why it’s so offensive when an organization is honest about PEDs.

Last edited 2 months ago by sven
K Robert
2 months ago

Argument aside of who may have juiced or is currently juicing…
The reality is – People use steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. Why not provide a separate venue for those that choose to, to perform. See what heights the human body is capable of achieving. Intriguing, No?

Reply to  K Robert
2 months ago

No. That’s partly the point. It is not the human body performing. It is the human body plus. Intriguing only if you are perverse and demented.

Sapiens Ursus
Reply to  K Robert
2 months ago

I am a cynic because the history of sport doesn’t lend optimism to our current age of ridiculous medical expertise, but there is a part of the traditional ideal that I support maintaining at least a facade for, and that is that sport is a part of culture which is much bigger than just the peak professional level. Sport is kids in school playing and competing with each other. So we do have an expectation that athletes are to be role models. We view doping as “cheating” because we have collectively decided it is wrong to at all encourage anyone to risk their health to gain an edge, not necessarily in the hope that the winner of the 100m dash… Read more »

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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