Swim star Shayna Jack has revealed she may have been the innocent victim of cross-contamination as she builds a defence case against the doping ban that forced her out of the pool.
Jack has maintained her innocence since testing positive to a banned substance in June, describing the “traumatic experience” she has endured.
In her first interview since the scandal emerged, Jack will tell Lisa Wilkinson on Channel 10’s The Sunday Project that she did not take the steroid but could have easily come into contact with it through another person.
“I had a lot of people come forward and say they were taking this drug. People who go to the gym. Some people were using it as recovery … they took it as a drop,” Jack will say, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“There was a case in the past called the ‘kiss cocaine case’ where someone had taken cocaine and then the partner, who was an athlete, kissed that person and they were contaminated because they had contact with something someone else had taken.
“I was told that anything I had come in contact with during that period could have been the risk of contamination.”
Jack was part of the women’s 100m freestyle relay team that won gold and set a new world record at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In the same year she also won a gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships.
The 21-year-old faces a suspension of up to four years after testing positive in July to Ligandrol, a non-steroid anabolic agent popular with bodybuilders.
She was dumped from the 2019 world titles team, suffering an emotional toll that left her crying to sleep at night and reliant on her dog Hugo to clam her.
Jack is expecting to be formally charged by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) by Christmas but it could be months before a hearing, potentially impacting her chance to make the Tokyo Olympic trials.
Jack told her Instagram followers last month she has been working with world experts on drug testing, sports and law and talking to other banned athletes as she builds a defence case.
In November she responded to two letters from ASADA and was waiting for an “infraction notice” to be issued within weeks.
“Once I have received this it will commence the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“We have been working exhaustively with world experts in both sports law, other athletes charged with ligandrol offences, and experts in the field of testing supplements and samples.
“This material will be used in our case before CAS.
“As you can hopefully understand, this has been a difficult time for me to adjust to a completely new lifestyle of not being able to follow my passion and dream for swimming. Let the fight continue!”
In her Channel 10 interview, the sprint star will also outline the financial toll the case has taken on her and her family, paying for an expensive legal team while facing bullying on social media.
“I’m 21 years old and I’m paying for a lawyer, a barrister, testing fees,” she says.
“It’s more than any 21-year-old would have. It’s more than what my parents could pay, with them having a house mortgage. I didn’t want them to have that, so I have taken all of the hit.”
But Jack said she has been supported by her family and particularly her partner, Brisbane Blaze hockey star Joel Rintala.
“My partner has been absolutely amazing. He has to deal with me every night. Sometimes I just can’t sleep because I need to cry and let it all out, and he just holds me,” she said.
“Recently, I had one of those days and the one thing he did was just bring my dog, Hugo, in. That dog made a big difference in my life.
“My dog wouldn’t judge me. He knows when I’m upset. When I’m crying, he just literally puts his head on my shoulder. Animals just calm me.”