Dark concerns for Aussie swim star
PEOPLE close to Aussie swim star Shayna Jack are concerned at how she is holding up through the most tumultuous moment of her life.
The 20-year-old Commonwealth Games champion's life has been turned upside down in the past month ahead of her meeting with Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) officials on Friday.
The freestyle specialist has been rocked by the scandal surrounding her positive test for banned substance Ligandrol last month and the furore that she has been swept up into following Aussie champion Mack Horton's podium protest of controversial Chinese swimmer Sun Yang at the FINA Swimming World Championships last week.
Swimming Australia boss Leigh Russell said on Sunday Jack remains in Brisbane and is receiving the support of friends, family and Swimming Australia staff.
Despite the support she is continuing to receive, Jack's agent Phil Stoneman revealed on Wednesday Jack has consulted with a psychologist on dealing with the intense public scrutiny and looming four-year ban ASADA reportedly intends to hand down - unless Jack's legal team is able to present compelling evidence that could overturn or downgrade the suspension proposed.
Former ASADA chief executive Richard Ings also went public on Wednesday with information that an Aussie Olympic great is also concerned about Jack's condition almost five days after the news of her positive test emerged on Saturday.
"This morning at my gym I had a chance to chat to a dual Olympic gold medallist Australian swimmer," Ings wrote on Twitter.
"People are concerned for the welfare of Ms Jack. This is just sport but it is also the field of dreams.
"I also hope she has good support around her."
This morning at my gym I had a chance to chat to a dual Olympic gold medallist Australian swimmer.— Richard Ings (@ringsau) July 30, 2019
People are concerned for the welfare of Ms Jack. This is just sport but it is also the field of dreams.
I also hope she has good support around her.
Stoneman said Jack's coping strategy makes her condition an "hour by hour" prospect.
Upon hearing support from Sydney radio personalities Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS 1065, Stoneman said Jack would be "blown away" to hear some public support.
"It's such a tough time for her and for her to hear this from you is just going to make her next hour a whole lot better. Because it really is an hour by hour process for her at the moment," Stoneman said.
"It shouldn't be on the front and back pages of the papers, she doesn't deserve that.
"She's only just starting to reach her potential and it's all being ripped away from her as we speak and ripped away from her in the most horrible, public way, which is so sad.
"She's on the front page of the paper again. She can't walk down the street. People have made up their minds. Her life is literally changed within two weeks. I get a bit emotional about it because I'm just seeing what's been happening to this poor girl and it's just not right."
It comes after revelations on Tuesday that Jack feels upset at suggestions from Swimming Australia that the positive test was kept confidential at the request of the swimmer.
An insider close to Jack told the newspaper the swimmer feels let down by a letter from Russell sent to Aussie swimmers claimed Swimming Australia kept Jack's test quiet because she pleaded to delay the announcement until after the World Championships.
Jack reportedly denies Swimming Australia's suggestion, claiming she went to officials on several occasions to ask for permission to go public only to be told to stay silent.
Radio host Sandilands said the backlash against Jack both in the media and from online trolls is the "grossest form of behaviour".
"This girl is 20-years old and the whole country is kicking her to death," he said.
"What's Australia doing? We're kicking a 20-year-old girl while she's down. The worst time of her life, all these arseholes on the websites are slagging her off, saying the worst things you could ever imagine.
"She was a teenager last year. How big and strong do you feel kicking the s*** out of this kid when she's going through the hardest time of her life?
"It's the grossest form of behaviour. It's swimming for god's sake.
"She's devastated and distraught."
Meanwhile Stoneman says the looming four-year ban is essentially a life ban for Jack, because it is impossible for an athlete to put their life on hold for that time period.
He also said Jack's team is "confident" the under fire star won't have to serve a full four-year ban after presenting their case to ASADA.