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Olympian spills on banned drug saga

Former Olympic swimmer James Magnussen has opened up about the infamous Stilnox saga which plagued his career following the 2012 Olympic Games in London.Magnussen and five teammates in the Australian 4x100m freestyle team confessed to taking the banned subscription drug at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester.Used to initiate and maintain sleep, Stilnox is typically subscribed…

Former Olympic swimmer James Magnussen has opened up about the infamous Stilnox saga which plagued his career following the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Magnussen and five teammates in the Australian 4x100m freestyle team confessed to taking the banned subscription drug at a pre-Olympic camp in Manchester.

Used to initiate and maintain sleep, Stilnox is typically subscribed for those with sleeping difficulties.

As part of a “bonding exercise”, the six athletes took the hypnotic drug before attempting a series of prank calls and door-knocking Australian teammates.

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Despite being favourites to claim gold in their event, the Australian team finished fourth in the 4x100m freestyle final.

Magnussen won two medals at the 2012 Summer Games – a silver in the 100m freestyle and a bronze in the 4×100m medley relay. He retired from professional swimming in June 2019.

On Monday evening’s episode of SAS Australia on Channel 7, the celebrities were tasked with revealing something they’ve done that they’re ashamed of and regret.

Magnussen spoke openly about the ordeal, conceding he had since copped abuse from several members of the Australian public.

“In 2012, leading into the London Olympics, myself and a few of the other boys on the swim team had a bit of a bonding night before the Olympic Games,” Magnussen said.

“We took Stilnox, which is a prescription sleeping tablet. It was banned on the team at the time.

“Later on, that came out in the media, and I had to explain to my family and friends what I’d done and how I let them down.

“I’ve copped some pretty decent sprays off members of the public. That I’m a drug cheat. That I shouldn’t represent the country. Their taxpayer money pays for me and I let them down. It was probably the lowest point in my life to date.”

Magnussen and five other Australian Olympians could have their bronze medals stripped after former swimmer Brenton Rickard tested positive to a banned substance earlier this month.

Rickard competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and was a member of the men’s 4x100m medley relay team, which featured Magnussen.

As first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Samantha Lane, a re-screening of Rickard’s sample he gave eight years ago tested positive to the diuretic Furosemide, a banned masking agent.

According to the report, the International Olympic Committee is seeking to disqualify Rickard’s results from the London Games, in what would be an Australian first.

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