'Living nightmare': Shayna Jack in TV breakdown over doping scandal

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Shayna Jack, pictured here breaking down in tears on SAS Australia.
Shayna Jack broke down in tears discussing her doping scandal. Image: Getty/Channel 7

Shayna Jack has broken down in tears on SAS Australia after being asked about her doping scandal and suspension from the Australian swimming team.

The 21-year-old is fighting to clear her name after testing positive to Ligandrol, a muscle-growth agent, and being stood down from the Australian team.

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Jack, who is currently in the middle of an appeal to have her four-year suspension dropped, took part in Channel 7 reality show SAS Australia in which contestants test themselves on the gruelling SAS training course.

The show also features a number of interrogation-style interviews with the participants - and Jack got her turn on Monday night.

“I’ve swum my whole life and never done anything different,” Jack said.

“A year and a bit ago, I got accused of taking drugs, which I’d never do, ever.

“I was just going into a training camp prior to the World Championships in 2019. They did just a regular drug test. It was normal for me to get drug tested, so I didn’t think anything of it.

“Then they called up the head coach, and that was it. I got sent home and they gave me a four-year ban from swimming, which would be the end of my career.”

Jack broke down in tears when asked what it would mean to never swim for Australia again.

“That’s probably the hardest question anyone could ever ask me, because I’ve never thought about anything else but swimming,” she said.

“I can’t go see my coach, I can’t just go swim with my squad, I can’t go and play another sport just for fun.

“I just want to be able to go back to swimming and love swimming again. And sometimes I forget how strong I am, and it does get to me a fair bit.”

Shayna Jack, pictured here at a hearing in Brisbane with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency.
Shayna Jack attends a hearing in Brisbane with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency. (Photo by TERTIUS PICKARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Shayna Jack wants to restore her tainted image

Jack said she’s desperate to restore her public image, which has been tainted by claims she’s a cheat.

“The one thing that hurts me more than anything to my core is that - yes, I’ve had a dream to represent my country at the Olympics since I was 10 - but it’s more the fact that I’ve always done the right thing by my sport and by my country,” she explained.

“I’ve never felt so much pain and anger that I feel for the fact that I don’t have control of what’s happening.

“I don’t know what I did to deserve this, and that’s a question I’ve asked myself for nine months, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’

“Every day for the past year has been a living nightmare, but I am someone who will speak up when it’s not right, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

Shayna Jack, pictured here during the 2018 Commonwealth Games qualifications.
Shayna Jack looks on during the 2018 Commonwealth Games qualifications. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m not going to sit back and let people try and accuse me of something I didn’t do.

“I’ve still got to think about the fact I’ve still got my swimming career, and I won’t stop fighting, and I will clear my name. That’s all that matters to me.”

A member of Australia's world record-breaking 4x100m freestyle relay team, Jack has denied knowingly taking the drug and claimed the banned substance could have got into her system by contamination.

Jack has protested her innocence since being stood down from the Australian team in the lead-up to the 2019 world titles in July last year.

The sprint star sent a defiant social media post earlier this year, declaring she was ready to “win this fight” after revealing she had received an update on her Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal.

In June, CAS confirmed the hearing had been locked in, but failed to specify a date.

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