Once-Banned Shayna Jack Earns Redemption With 100 Free Olympic Bid


One of the most highly-anticipated events at the 2024 Australian Olympic Trials unfolded in brisk fashion as the women’s 100m free gave us a glimpse into the speedy weapons in the nation’s arsenal.

4 out of the top 10 best-ever performers worldwide were among the pack, one of whom was 25-year-old Shayna Jack.

After capturing the 2nd seed out of the morning heats with a swim of 52.65, Jack added slightly in the final to maintain her runner-up position.

Jack ultimately got to the wall in 52.72, with Mollie O’Callaghan grabbing the top slot in 52.33. They both easily cleared the Olympic Qualification Time to earn individual bids in this event for next month’s Games in Paris.

While O’Callaghan’s victory now adds this 100m free as the megastar’s 3rd individual event among her Olympic repertoire, Jack’s performance represents her first individual event qualification and her first-ever Olympic appearance.

The accomplishment caps off a horrendous past few years for the athlete, as she is on a redemption journey since having served a 2-year ban for testing positive for banned substance Ligandrol.

Jack’s nightmare began in 2019 when, just days before the start of that year’s World Championships in Gwangju, she was unexpectedly pulled from the nation’s squad.

Her positive results were then made public, about which at the time Jack said, “I’m not going to stop until I prove my innocence. I’ll fight to get myself back into the pool because that’s my dream.”

In 2020, Jack’s original 4-year suspension was reduced to 2 years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with the organization determining the athlete did not intentionally ingest the substance.

Her suspension was backdated to July 2019 and lifted in July 2021, meaning she had no time left to qualify for the postponed 2020 Olympic Games.

Since then, Jack has been steadily rising among the Aussie women’s sprinting ranks, beginning with the 2021 Queensland Championships.

She helped Australia win gold in the 4x100m free relay and silver in the mixed medley relay at the 2022 World Championships.

A year later in Fukuoka, the St. Peters Western star earned individual silver in the 50m free along with a quartet of relay medals. Among those were the world record-setting women’s 4x100m free, women’s 4x200m free and mixed 4x100m free relays.

This year in Doha, Jack once again represented Australia in fine form, claiming 100m free bronze and 5 relay medals.

Flash forward to tonight and Jack was clearly emotional during her on-deck interview after the 100m free race.

She said, “I’ve said to myself, ‘I have nothing to prove, I’ve come back and I think that tells enough’.

“But I just always thought of this moment and how do I get to this moment, and how do I make it come true?

“It’s one of those things that every little girl dreams of, and I’ve always dreamt of representing my country at the Olympics.

“I think, for me, it’s just using every bit of motivation from anybody who ever doubted me and knowing that I reached points of absolute despair and not even knowing if I wanted to return to the sport.

“It’s just happiness. I’m just so proud of myself and I couldn’t have done it without so many people.

“It’s pride for myself and pride that I get to prove to everybody that I deserve to be here. And this is what I was born for.” (ABC.net)

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1 month ago

I am sure that her Ausie teammates will not even talk to her. After all, they are well known to despise dopers. They will look above her, all while riding on their high horses.

Reply to  Yinz
1 month ago

Haters will always hate.

Reply to  Yinz
1 month ago

What do you know lmao

1 month ago

Without going into it all over again, the information available indicates it was unintentional, the levels in her system were negligible and that she did not benefit from it in any meaningful way. She served a two year ban which is stiffer than what serious drug cheats have received and she missed out on several Olympic medals. She’s paid a high enough penalty. The perennial haters should let her get on with her career.

1 month ago

Shameful to send a cheater to the Olympics.

Spieker Pool Lap Swimmer
Reply to  Kim
1 month ago

But isn’t this the way it’s supposed to work, though? She cheated, got caught, served her suspension and now she’s redeemed herself with a fast clean swim. I don’t think she owes anyone anything more.

1 month ago

Good for her and good for Australia swimming.

Athlete tests positive, athlete gets pulled from tournament, she gets reported serves her time and get back after time served. This is how it should be done CHINA and WADA. You don’t sweep it under the rug and act like nothing happened.
I will be cheering for her.

Last edited 1 month ago by Swimdad
Emperor Sun Yang
Reply to  Swimdad
1 month ago

I would like the same sentiment to ring true for the emperor himself – Sun Yang

Last edited 1 month ago by Emperor Sun Yang
1 month ago

You served your ban then you can compete. I’m OK with it. But please don’t call it a redemption and portrait it a as a moving story.

1 month ago

So proud of Shayna Jack!

Reply to  Eisenheim
1 month ago

Same here . She felt so emotional when interview for finally getting that tough spot

Reply to  Eisenheim
1 month ago

So confused about the down votes… does everyone really think she intentionally doped?

1 month ago

I feel like people are way harsh on Shayna. Yeah, she tested positive, but clearly proved it was unintentional enough that it saw a significant ban reduction. Obviously she took a risk in taking supplements and benefitted from the ligandrol, which is why she served her two years. Now that that’s done, people are divided into two ridiculous extremes in support or against her. It’s not a miraculous comeback story after a terrible tragedy, but it’s also not a doper clearing the field undeservedly.

1 month ago

Anyone actually do a PB in that race?

Reply to  Suze
1 month ago

Wunsch did. She had a 53.7 coming into the meet, 53.3 in prelims, and 53.17 in the final. Very impressive, especially considering the pressure. I wasn’t so sure that she was going to be on the same level as the other great women they have, but it sure looks like she can be.

Last edited 1 month ago by dg5301

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Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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