Why Shayna Jack’s a shock chance for Tokyo despite ban
Shayna Jack is a chance of being a shock inclusion in the Australian team at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
If approved in time, a proposal to end the practice of banning athletes who accidentally test positive to low levels of banned substances would open the door to Jack.
Led by Travis Tygart, the famed US anti-doping chief who brought down Lance Armstrong, the groundbreaking proposal is being evaluated by a special working group appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Frustrated by the increasing number of athletes who have been caught out by improved testing methods that can detect tiny traces of contaminated substances that have no performance-enhancing benefits, Tygart is pushing for the rules to be changed so that drug catchers can focus on nabbing intentional cheats.
"I haven't seen the full decision on Shayna Jack's case so I can't comment on that but to treat any case in the weeds that's at low, low levels isn't the same as Russian state sponsored intentional (doping)," he told The Saturday Telegraph.
"But let's be clear, we're not talking about going light on intentional cheaters.
"This is about making sure we don't railroad innocent athletes because any system that is willing to do that more frequently than catching intentional cheats is a system that can't sustain itself."
If the proposed reforms are approved in time, that could have massive implications for Jack, who is serving a two-year ban for testing positive to ligandrol even though the Court of Arbitration for Sport believed she had ingested the banned anabolic agent unintentionally.
Her suspension ends on July 12, 2021 - 11 days before the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics - but exactly one month after the start of the Australian trials to choose the squad.
The Telegraph understands Jack will be given permission to resume training alongside her Dolphins teammates and her coach Dean Boxall two months before her ban is lifted so only needs a further 31-day reduction to her ban to compete at the trials.
There is no guarantee she will get that but her case is a classic example of why WADA is seriously looking at introducing limits for substances that are known contaminants and adopting a different approach to dealing with cases that fall below the threshold.
The full findings of Jack's case will be publicly released next week but sources have confirmed her concentration levels were defined as "pharmaceutically irrelevant", which is anti-doping jargon for being too itsy-bitsy to help even the Eric the Eel swim faster, while all of her other tests came back clean.
Originally published as Why Shayna Jack's a shock chance for Tokyo despite ban