Australian swimming legend Kieren Perkins has slammed the idea of promoting drug use in sport, declaring: "I cannot see that any responsible and ethical person would think the Enhanced Games is even remotely a sensible idea."
One of the most respected swimmers in Australian history and an Olympic Games champion, Perkins weighed into the controversial debate days after James Magnussen said he was keen to compete.
The issue sparked a sharp rebuke from Sports Integrity Australia boss David Sharpe, who accused Enhanced Games organisers of putting profit before health.
Perkins, now the chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission and AIS, doubled down on Sharpe's criticism and conceded he was surprised Magnussen put his name to the plan.
Magnussen, a former world champion and three-time Olympic medal-winner, became the first athlete to publicly announce his support after organisers dangled a $1 million carrot in front of him.
"One of the things that's always very fascinating about human beings is it's very difficult to really understand what someone else is ever thinking," Perkins said.
"And I will put this well and truly in that category, I don't understand why anyone would want to take performance enhancing drugs, which are well documented and understood to cause very significant health issues ... for sporting success.
"I don't understand it. I'll never understand it. And certainly cannot see that any responsible and ethical person would think that the Enhanced Games is even remotely a sensible idea."
Canberra-based Sharpe said athletes risked being frozen out of other organised sport if they wanted to compete at the Enhanced Games.
"The use of performance-enhancing substances poses an unacceptable health risk to athletes," Sharpe said on the weekend.
Still, Magnussen went on the front foot and said he was willing to chase a drug-fuelled world record if he was financially compensated and former Australian teammate Leisel Jones said on Triple M: "I don't want to participate in it myself ... but I am happy to see other people do this."
Perkins, however, left no room for confusion when he was asked about his views at the AIS on Monday.
"Clean sport will always remain a focus in Australia," Perkins said.
"I think that it's one of the things that Australia has prided itself on for a very long time that we do value that ethically and morally as a country.
"We know that clean sport is absolutely one of the most important pillars of athletic competition and I do think that what does really sit behind that is a deep sense of care and obligation to the health and well-being of athletes.
"As soon as you start going down the murky slope of allowing these sorts of drugs to be involved in the system, then you are completely setting aside the athlete's physical and mental well being and prioritising commercial gains. And that's not a place we want to be."