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Nike Running Coach Alberto Salazar Hit With Four-Year Doping Ban By USADA

Photo: Andy Lyons (Getty)

Legendarily shady running coach Alberto Salazar was given a four-year ban by the USADA Monday, for what it described as “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct” while working for Nike as the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project. Dr. Jeffrey Brown, a consultant for the NOP, also received a four-year ban.

Salazar has long had a reputation for jeopardizing the health of his runners with an aggressive regimen of supplements and infusions, gaming therapeutic use exemptions, and hunting for off-label side-effects of legal drugs that can be beneficial to his runners, even while the primary effects might be dangerous. The USADA reportedly considered some of Salazar’s dispensation of contradictory medical advice “unconscionable,” regarding the distribution of legal drugs and supplements. A confidential USADA report leaked in May 2017 described how Salazar and Brown instructed each of their individual athletes to “become a ‘silo’” in order to keep all information about medication and supplementation shrouded in secrecy.

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The report from the USADA released Monday says that Salazar and Brown “trafficked testosterone, a banned performance-enhancing substance, administered a prohibited IV infusion, and engaged in tampering to attempt to prevent relevant information about their conduct from being learned by USADA.” The USADA relied on testimonies from athletes trained by Salazar and treated by Brown, in addition to “contemporaneous emails, and patient records.”

“The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” said USADA Chief Executive Officer Travis T. Tygart. “While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”

Salazar’s ban starts today. Both Salazar and Brown have denied any wrongdoing, per the New York Times. Salazar is still listed as the Head Coach on the Nike Oregon Project website as of Monday night. Read the full USADA statement here.

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