Swimming champion Cate Campbell has revealed that banned teammate Shayna Jack told her that she was lucky she didn't care what people said about her or "I wouldn't be alive right now".

The shock admission came during the ABC's Australian Story where Jack spoke about her ordeal as she prepares to once again front the Court of Abitration for Sport in a bid to clear her name.

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Jack was suspended from swimming for four years after testing positive to the illegal substance ligandrol in July 2019 but it was cut to two after she won her first case.

But after nearly two years of fighting and more than $130,000 in fees, Sport Integrity Australia and the World Anti-Doping Agency appealed the decision, meaning Jack needs to return to the courtroom to defend herself.

Last month she launched a GoFundMe in an emotional appeal. It had raised over $38,000 at the time of writing.

Jack has had plenty of detractors and supporters since she was withdrawn from the Australian squad at the 2019 World Championship before it was revealed she had failed a drug test.

Campbell has stood by Jack's side since she and the rest of the Australian team were told after the start of meet

The news erupted after 400m men's freestyle swimmer Mack Horton refused to stand on the podium next to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang.

Sun served a three month doping suspension in 2014 but was accused of destroying a blood vial with a hammer when collectors visited his home in September 2018.

He has since been found guilty but had the eight-year sentence overturned on appeal and while he hasn't been cleared as he will need to face a new CAS panel in the future.

Shayna Jack at the pool.
Shayna Jack at the pool.

But Campbell revealed Jack has had some dark times.

"I've been very upset by this whole thing by how Shayna has been treated," she began. "She said, 'Cate, I'm so lucky that I'm not the type of person who particularly cares what people say about me, because if I did, I wouldn't be alive right now'," Campbell revealed.

"I have received a bit of backlash for supporting Shayna. However, I believe that it's the right thing to do. What really scares me about this situation is that I believe it could have happened to me. This case has made me aware that it is possible for contamination to occur. I can support Shayna Jack and I can still have a zero tolerance for drugs in sport - both of those things are possible."

Jack, who admitted she was "angry with the world" in the midst of the fight for her career said she felt she needed to stand up for other athletes.

"I don't want other athletes to have to go through what I've been through," she said. "One day, someone's not going to get through it, and Sports Integrity and other organisations in the world are going to have blood on their hands."

Jack went to great lengths to show she wasn't involved in a systematic drug scheme with hair testing showing there was no long term use.

Banned swim star Shayna Jack.
Banned swim star Shayna Jack.

She also revealed there were only trace amount of drugs that were found in her system.

"The expert that Sports Integrity had found, had stated the amount found in my system was pharmaceutically irrelevant, meaning it had zero effect on my body," Jack said.

"It didn't help me increase muscle mass. It didn't help me swim faster. It didn't help me recover. It did nothing.

"The expert report said that it had come into contact with my body within two days of my test, which places me in Cairns on the Swimming Australia camp. Therefore, the flight, the baggage claim, the hotel I stayed in, the food that I was given that night, the pool and the gym - and the public toilets. I was able to say, 'These are possibilities.' I cannot prove that this is where it happened. But I can say in those two days, these are the only things I did differently."

Shayna Jack appearing before ASADA.
Shayna Jack appearing before ASADA.

Previously, she also spoke about the "cocaine kiss" defence with a past case of an athlete being contaminated by a partner who has used cocaine.

According to US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, the man credited with bringing down disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, Jack's case is much different.

"The only question is going to be how many innocent athletes are railroaded before the rules finally change," he said. "People need to know about the injustice.

"What struck me about the Jack case, no performance benefit, no intent, not even reckless, did everything she could to abide by the rules. But yet she's branded a drug cheat and given a two-year suspension and lucky not to get a four-year. That's just an inherently unjust system."

Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA.
Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA.

Tygart said that there have been several cases with low level positives caused by meat contamination, supplement contamination and even sex.

"The rules then demand that an athlete who has a positive in that regard is automatically assumed to be an intentional cheater that deserves a four-year sanction," he said. "It's the rules that have to be changed to be more fair, to adjust for the new technology advancements

or the realities of the world that we all now live in."

Similarly, former Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell said "athletes have every right to be worried".

"If testing is picking up the minute elements of anything, then these things will happen. It has demonstrated that it can happen to anyone," she said.

 

 

Originally published as Shayna Jack's chilling admission to star



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