Failed drug test: How dumb can an organisation be?
WHENEVER there is a crisis in Australian swimming, our national officials introduce a new event - the belly-flop.
It is performed at the deep end of every scandal by officials who hide away when the heat is on, then end up having to explain the unexplainable when their dirty little secret gets leaked to the world.
It happened at the London Olympics with the Stilnox sleeping pill scandal and it's happened again with the Shayna Jack drug affair.
What a mess. Australian officials should be ashamed of the way they have handled Jack's positive drug test to the increasingly popular muscle-enhancing drug Ligandrol.
Yesterday, finally, they tried to clear the air, but it was like stirring a mud pool - the clouds just thickened.
No amount of explanation could remove the sickening stench of a cover-up. And that will infuriate Australian Olympic officials still angry with Swimming Australia for the way they covered up the Stilnox scandal.
Swimming Australia claims it does not have the authority to release the names of swimmers who return positive tests - which is debatable - but ASADA certainly does and it should have been urged to do so by the swimming body.
How dumb can an organisation be to think that you could kick a swimmer off a team for failing a drug test and it would remain a secret? To let Jack return to Australia without a truthful explanation for her absence was to set off a ticking time bomb.
In keeping this matter a secret, Swimming Australia failed to realise Jack was representing not simply Swimming Australia, but every Australian.
Much like an Australian cricketer being sent home from tour, Jack is, in essence, our property during her time on our team. And if she is sent home it is our right to know about it.
Mack Horton, riding high in the saddle after the global support for his very public protest against drug-tainted Chinese star Sun Yang, yesterday found himself facing the blowtorch rather than holding it.
Quizzed over Jack, he responded with silence, the time-honoured escape route for harassed interviewees when there is no obvious other way out.
Horton should have no regrets over his stance, but where a few days ago he was preaching from the high ground, suddenly he is standing in the foothills through no fault of his own.
Horton must feel like a politician who was gaining strong crowd support in a speech to the masses, but was sconed by a flying egg just as he was leaving the stage, a shame because he is not the one who deserves to have egg on his face.