James Magnussen To Star In Enhanced Games Documentary

Former sprint freestyle star and multi-time world champion James Magnussen will star in a recently announced documentary about the Enhanced Games, the controversial multi-sport event that won’t subject athletes to drug testing.

The Enhanced Games, which first came into the public sphere last summer, are financially supported by billionaire Peter Thiel and planned to be held in 2025.

In February, Magnussen said he would “juice to the gills” at the event to try and break the world record in the men’s 50 freestyle, which Thiel confirmed would land the Australian a $1 million paycheck.

On Thursday, Magnussen announced on Instagram that he will star in a documentary about the Enhanced Games created by American actor and Wrexham F.C. co-owner Rob McElhenney.


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McElhenney’s “More Better Productions” company will partner with Ridley Scott Associates (RSA) to co-produce the documentary, which will likely be a series rather than a full-length feature.

RSA notably co-produced Netflix’s docuseries on English footballer and singer Robbie Williams.

“More Better is honored to partner with RSA to help tell the extraordinary story behind the Enhanced Games,” McElhenney told Variety.

“From the moment we discovered this competition was in the works, we knew this deserved a deep exploration through a thoughtful docu-series lens.”

Magnussen will be one of 10 athletes to feature in the documentary, which will “examine the moral ambiguity that surrounds the endeavor including whether the competition is encouraging potentially harmful practices or simply a modern solution to the continuing problem of doping across the sporting industry, much in the same way some creatives are trying to adopt new technology rather than fight it,” according to Variety.

The 32-year-old Magnussen was one of the world’s top sprinters during the 2010s, storming to gold in the men’s 100 free at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai while also leading Australia to gold in the 400 free relay and adding a silver in the medley relay.

After ripping a time of 47.10 at the 2012 Australian Olympic Trials, the fastest ever in a textile suit up until 2016, Magnussen settled for silver at the London Olympic Games, finishing .01 behind American Nathan Adrian (47.52 to 47.53).

Magnussen also won bronze on Australia’s 400 medley relay in London, and added a third Olympic medal with a 400 free relay bronze in Rio.

He defended his world title in the 100 free in 2013, and after also winning the Commonwealth Games title in the event in 2014, dealt with a few injuries in late 2014 and early 2015 that kept him off the major international stage until the Rio Olympics.

He won another relay medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, and formally announced his retirement in 2019.

The Enhanced Games have come under scrutiny, as you’d expect, including World Athletics president Sebastian Coe calling it “bollocks” and the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) saying it’s “dangerous and irresponsible.”

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1 month ago

I would like to jot down a list of athletes names in this that juiced and see if over time any of the substances they put in their bodies negatively affected them.

1 month ago

I hope the only Aussie athletes who aim to star in this circus freak-show are long-retired has-beens.

1 month ago

It’s all fun and games until everyone is slow because nobody in their prime participates. Then it’s just boring.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Qqq
1 month ago

This made me realize they all should have done a time trial before the enhancements began.

1 month ago

This could actually backfire for the enhanced games if he’s nowhere near the wr or if he gets badly injured from the drugs he takes.

Z Tech
1 month ago

Yeah my objection to this is the direct the insult to the ideal of clean sport. It’s an open secret that a lot of people get away with doping in the NFL, NBA, Athletics even despite the strict drug testing, strongman competitions they all but openly admit to it.

But this is me the cynical adult talking. It’s not about the reality of the situation, it’s about 6 year old jimmy and not giving him any stupid ideas. I’m surprised Peter Thiel doesn’t at all care about that, but there’s also a reason in spite of all of these tech bro’s whining about rules and regulations that we don’t let them decide everything.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

brett hawke choosing to promote while being a platform for mainstream swimming is… a choice

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

but are we surprised?

1 month ago

Steroids are narcotics?

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

The games themselves do feel icky, even if I do sort of support them existing in general.

If anything I think it’s good to have just as data points.

The doco could also go both ways – could fairly easily tip too far one way and just end up a bit farcical. (I don’t expect “Icarus” I’m going in optimistically.)

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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