Giaan Rooney: ‘It could have been me’

SWIMMING champion Giaan Rooney says Shayna Jack's potentially "career ending" doping scandal has highlighted that accidental doping is an "easy mistake" that could happen to any elite athlete.

The Olympic gold medallist, who believes Jack inadvertently ingested banned substance Ligandrol, yesterday weighed into the scandal, revealing she uncovered an issue with the Rhinocort Hayfever Spray she used during her time in the sport, which could have led to a positive drug sample.


Swimming great Giaan Rooney has weighed in on Shayna Jack’s doping scandal. Photo: Adam Head
Swimming great Giaan Rooney has weighed in on Shayna Jack’s doping scandal. Photo: Adam Head

"It's completely legal, on the OK list, no issue with it whatsoever, but that exact same product, same name, same packaging, bought over the counter in the US has a steroid in it," Rooney said.

"If I had gone over there without knowing that, and raced over there or trained over there and bought was what I would have thought was the exact same medication, I would have had a positive sample."

"I'm not in any way trying to excuse the situation, but it is every athlete's worst nightmare because it is quite easy to make a mistake."

"Maybe it does go to highlight how incredibly difficult it is for athletes. It is an incredibly stressful component of being an elite athlete, making sure that everything that enters your system is OK."

But the Gold Coast commentator said she believed it was the athlete's responsibility and if a banned substance was in an athlete's system they "need to serve a ban".

"We need to keep it black and white for that reason," Rooney said.

Jack is facing a lengthy suspension from swimming when she meets with the Australian Sport Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) today.

Rooney said a potential four-year ban for a first-time offender seemed "too heavy" and said the concern now had to be placed on Jack's mental health.

"Four years would be career ending, definitely," she said. "My biggest thing now is I worry about her mental health. She's 20 years old. It's every athlete's worst nightmare. It very well could be career-destroying and I just hope it is not also life destroying. I hope everyone rallies around her. It's just horrific."