Alberto Salazar, chief coach at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), has denied any wrongdoing in the wake of the leaking of a US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report into activities there.
Salazar asserts that his athletes – who include Rio 2016 marathon bronze medalist Galen Rupp and Britain’s double world and Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 meter champion Mo Farah – “have nothing to hide and are hiding nothing.”
The interim report, compiled in March last year and hacked by Fancy Bears before being released in its entirety this week by the US athletics site FloTrack.com, states that “it appears highly likely” that anti-doping rules on the infusion of legal supplements – in this case L-carnitine – were broken in the case of Rupp.
The same charge is leveled at other past or present NOP athletes Dathan Ritzenhein, Tara Erdmann, Lindsay Allen, Alvina Begay and Dawn Grunnagle.
The report, which was put together for the Texas Medical Board in an attempt to gain more information about the physician working with athletes at NOP, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, added that Rupp’s “potential violation” was still under investigation.
The case is also proposed in the report that athletes under Salazar’s charge were regularly receiving treatments believed to have performance-enhancing potential even if they were not diagnosed with the relevant medical condition.
There is speculation too over Salazar’s apparent “obsession” with improving his athletes’ testosterone levels.
Salazar has previously admitted to carrying out a testosterone experiment on his sons, saying he did it in order to see whether it was possible to sabotage an athlete and make them test positive by rubbing testosterone cream on them.
The report questions this motive, implying it could have been an experiment in micro-dosing to evade testing, although this remains as speculation.
In his statement sent to Oregonian, Salazar denies having ever used testosterone as an athlete and says that USADA’s belief, as of March 2016, that L-carnitine injections were illegally administered is incorrect.
“As I have noted repeatedly, the successes my athletes have achieved are through hard work and dedication,” Salazar said.
“I believe in a clean sport and a methodical, dedicated, approach to training.
“The Oregon Project will never permit doping and all Oregon Project athletes are required to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency Code and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Rules.
“To be clear, I never used testosterone when I was competing, I have never had ‘dual’ testosterone prescriptions, and I have never rubbed testosterone on an athlete.
“The baseless speculation by USADA to the contrary is simply wrong.
“Likewise, USADA’s conjecture regarding the L-carnitine injections is simply wrong.
“Evidence has been submitted to USADA disproving their unsupported assumptions evidence USADA should have collected before issuing its incorrect suppositions to the TMB as fact.
“I’ve done more than any coach to continuously disprove false allegations where no violation has occurred.”
He went onto say that he did not approve of athletes’ personal medical records being “aired publicly.”
Salazar also believed USADA had “failed these innocent athletes.”
Speaking to the press before his victory over 5,000m at the International Association of Athletics Associations’ Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Farah responded to questions about the renewed questioning of the NOP operation with some obvious frustration.
“I just get sick of it, really, to be honest with you,” Farah said.
“As an athlete you just want to do the best as you can, and that’s what I want to do; but it’s nothing new.
“Being an Olympic champion, four-time Olympic champion, you do get a lot of that stuff.
“But at the same time you just have to do the best that you can.
“I believe in clean sports.”
He added that he had not read the USADA report online, commenting: “It’s nothing new.”
By Mike Rowbottom
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.