“I’m done” – Kah reveals the pain of the Airbnb scandal
Just over six months ago, many were wondering if Jamie Kah would make a Tracy Austin; or, as it turned out, a Ash Barty.
Austin made a handful of unsuccessful comebacks, but effectively retired at age 21 in 1983 following a series of injuries and a car accident – and burnout. She had won the first of her of them The United States opens at 16 years old.
Barty decided to quit at age 25 for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because she felt she had achieved her tennis goals and was excited about life beyond the racquet.
Kah’s racing dreams didn’t all involve the racetrack and after the Airbnb scandal last August, some thought Kah might turn away from racing — at the height of his powers, like Austin and Barty — and pursue a Olympic Equestrian Dream. His parents had been Olympiansin speed skating.
Kah was extremely private. Is the commentary and advertising of illegality Mornington gathering during Covid-related containment turn out to be too intense?
Kah briefly discussed the scandal during the Scobie Breasley Medal presentation last year. It was an awkward moment considering Kah had won the award but was serving her Airbnb suspension at the time, but she seemed contrite and vowed to resuscitate her career, allaying fears of a storyline in Austin.
Late yesterday, Kah revealed herself more than ever before in a candid chat with Mark Howard as part of the popular The Howie Podcasts. Kah talked about her childhood; his pets and his parents, even cute little stories about a Brumby called Billy, his first car – an old bomb green Peugeot with an embarrassing Playboy sticker on the back window, his first job at 13 picking cherries and eat most of it.
These stories provided an insightful backdrop to the infamous Airbnb incident.
Kah had been perceived as something between shy and arrogant but her steely game face, the most constant image of her, had a backstory and The Howie podcast gently created it as a setting.
The podcast revealed how heartbreaking the Airbnb saga has been for a young jockey who had been heavily laden with notoriety and waiting this happened but was not researched.
She described the fallout as “one of the darkest times of my life“which had a positive point in the sense that it made her”grow as a person in five minutes.”
“I’m the one who always wanted to be positive, a good persona good model in people’s eyes. Everything I had built over the past 10 years as a jockey, it felt like in an hour, it’s gone,” she says.
Kah described the confusion and isolation of the immediate consequences as “horrific”.
She said the media and social media comment had been devastating, especially during a first week of enforced isolation.
“I couldn’t see anyone; I couldn’t be with anyone and obviously the media and people on Facebook and Twitter. I just had to turn off my phone and the things that were said about me, about us.
Kah said she was upset when she was interviewed by stewards and the police about unlawful assemblyand who participated.
She said she “got overboard” during “interviews and interrogations” and “it was like you were a little kid being scolded by the main.
“I’ve never been in trouble before, I’m not good at confrontation and I just couldn’t get a word out these (early) days of interviews and interrogations. I was that little girl who couldn’t believe it, everything just went away.
She felt she had left both racing industry and regular supporters downcast and feared she would never be forgiven.
“At this point, I was thinking ‘I’m done’, trainers (and) owners won’t get back to me after that, I just thought the worst, wasn’t very positive.
Lessons have been learned.
“I definitely don’t take anything for granted anymore, not that I take it (being a jockey) for granted, but you just think it’s never going to end. I was probably a little self-centered; people were going through such a hard time and I made a mistake and I had to learn From this.
“It was one of the hardest things that’s happened, but it’s also, probably, one of the best things that’s happened in my life.
“I wasn’t really in the right place to talk about it until recently and it’s good that I got rid of it.