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Alberto Salazar responds to USADA investigation reports

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Track coach Alberto Salazar again denied breaking anti-doping rules following more reports of details from an ongoing U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation into Salazar and his Nike Oregon Project program.

“As I have noted repeatedly, the successes my athletes have achieved are through hard work and dedication,” Salazar wrote in an email Wednesday, according to the Oregonian. “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 WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] Code and IAAF Rules.”

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the USADA investigation determined then-Nike Oregon Project runner Dathan Ritzenhein “likely” received an infusion of the substance L-carnitine above the legal dosage limit in December 2011.

An interim USADA report published by Flotrack backed the Times report regarding Ritzenhein while saying its findings were “subject to change” at “this preliminary stage” of the investigation. It also agreed with previous reports that other Salazar-coached athletes received L-carnitine infusions and said it was “highly likely” they were above the legal limit of 50 milliliters per six-hour period.

“USADA’s conjecture regarding the L-carnitine injections is simply wrong,” Salazar wrote Wednesday, according to the Oregonian. “Evidence has been submitted to USADA disproving their unsupported assumptions.”

Salazar said the Nike Oregon Project has “nothing to hide.”

“I’ve done more than any coach to continuously disprove false allegations where no violation has occurred,” he wrote. “I fully cooperated, voluntarily answered USADA’s questions under oath and provided thousands of documents.”

The three-time Olympian Ritzenhein, who left Salazar’s group in 2014, said he “complied with all WADA rules, including my use of L-carnitine,” in a reported 2015 statement.

At least seven former athletes and staff members of Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project have spoken with USADA, some alleging that Salazar violated medical and anti-doping rules with his athletes, according to June 2015 reports.

Salazar called allegations of cheating from his former athletes and staff “demonstrably false” in an 11,000-word response three weeks after the June 2015 reports.

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World downhill champion Ilka Stuhec tears ACL

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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.

Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.

Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.

According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.

“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.

In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”

The Olympics start in less than four months.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard mourns after 17-year-old aerials skier found dead

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Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”

Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.

Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.