Kieren Perkins of Australia competes in the men's 1500 meter...

Kieren Perkins of Australia competes in the men's 1500 meter freestyle final at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Friday, July 26, 1996. Perkins won the gold medal. Two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist and Australian Sports Commission chief Perkins says “someone will die” if a multi-sport event that he called “borderline criminal” and which allows banned substances goes ahead. Credit: AP/DAVID LONGSTREATH

MELBOURNE, Australia — Olympic great and Australian Sports Commission chief Kieren Perkins says “someone will die” if a multi-sport event that he called “borderline criminal” and which allows banned performance-enhancing substances goes ahead.

The Enhanced Games have been proposed by Australian entrepreneur and London-based Aron D’Souza, with Australia’s dual world champion swimmer and triple Olympic medalist James Magnussen the first athlete to publicly pledge to compete at the 2025 event.

D’Souza has promised the retired Magnussen $1 million if he can break the world 50-meter freestyle record after taking performance-enhancing substances.

“Someone will die if we allow that sort of environment to continue to foster and flourish,” Perkins, who won 1,500-meter freestyle gold medals at the 1992 and '96 Olympics and took silver in 2000, told a sports conference on Tuesday.

While not commenting directly on Magnussen, Perkins said sport shouldn’t turn its back on athletes contemplating taking part, and they should be “protected from making poor decisions."

“I certainly fear for them, and it’s disappointing because of the selfishness that’s involved,” he said. “There’s plenty of historical examples of athletes that don’t survive through their 40s because of taking drugs, whose children are severely disabled, malformed and have had short lives themselves.”

Perkins, a three-time Olympian who broke 11 world records and earned the nickname “Superfish” in the 1990s, said questions should be asked about the commercial objectives of the organizers and pharmaceutical companies involved.

Australian silver medal winner for the men's 1500m freestyle Kieren...

Australian silver medal winner for the men's 1500m freestyle Kieren Perkins stands on the podium Saturday, Sept. 23, 2000, at the Sydney International Aquatic Center during the Summer Olympics in Sydney. Two-time Olympic swimming gold medalist and Australian Sports Commission chief Kieren Perkins says “someone will die” if a multi-sport event that he called “borderline criminal” and which allows banned substances goes ahead. Credit: AP/DAVID LONGSTREATH

“What’s the end game here? I’m willing to bet that the end game is not something that’s better for individual athletes and society at large,” he said.

Swimming and diving are among the disciplines on the proposed Enhanced Games schedule, along with track and field, weightlifting, gymnastics and combat sports.

Various media have reported that D’Souza is in negotiations with global television networks and streaming outlets, while venues around the world are pitching to host the Games. Organizers are planning to stage up to seven qualifying events around the world in December, with the inaugural Enhanced Games slated for the middle of next year.

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