Australian swimmer Gian Rooney says he can quit swimming if Shayna Jack faces the same situation.
Jack has a chance to return to the Australian squad tonight, when he will line up in the 100m freestyle at the National Championships in Adelaide, which will double the selection trials for both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
His heat time of 53.27 seconds was the second fastest of the eight qualifiers for the final.
The 23-year-old was banned for two years in 2019 after testing positive for ligandrol drug in an out-of-competition test. He maintained that he inadvertently took the drug and “never intentionally take banned substances that would disrespect my sport and threaten my career.”
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Rooney, who is covering the championship for Amazon Prime Video, said the obstacles Jack overcame were remarkable.
He told the Wide World of Sports, “I can honestly say that if this had happened to me, I don’t think I would have been able to swim again.”
“I’m really excited to see her race. My respect for her has always been skyrocketing in the way she handled herself throughout the debate.
“After hearing about the toll he took on himself and his family and loved ones, let alone financially and the impact of what is being said about him, he never said he would never swim again.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such an athlete, with the determination and strength of character.”
Rooney, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, noted that the two-year ban would have an effect.
“The mental challenge is probably more difficult than the physical challenge, and it cannot be underestimated,” he explained.
“For Shayna, the mental challenge was so difficult, she just didn’t have to defend herself against these allegations, and I firmly believe that she had no knowledge of these substances entering her system.
“Trying to prove your innocence, coming up against the international media and condemnation, making people think you’re guilty and another drug swindler, for not being able to train with your squad, I don’t think a lot of people understand how difficult it is.
“Swimming is a unique sport, but I couldn’t do it without my squad. If I had to swing for training and the rest of the squad didn’t show up, I’d almost pack my bags and go home. . “
Another swimming legend, Grant Hackett, told the Wide World of Sports that being away from competition was “cruel.”
“I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on the bench for more than two years in the middle of your career,” he said.
“It’s definitely a hazard, and it’ll make you question whether you want to stay in the sport. The emotional roller coaster at the time, it was very, very difficult.
“Perhaps there is a sense of relief, and a desire to prove ourselves as one of our top athletes.”
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