Alberto Salazar

Track coach Alberto Salazar accused of cheating by former team members

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At least seven former athletes and staff members of the Nike Oregon Project track group spoke with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, according to the BBC and ProPublica, which reported that those formerly close to the group’s coach Alberto Salazar said Salazar violated medical and anti-doping rules with his athletes.

The World Anti-Doping Agency said “any investigation will be a matter for the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the IAAF, and the relevant information shall be passed to them,” in a statement.

USADA said in the BBC and ProPublica reports that it does not confirm the existence of ongoing investigations.

Salazar’s methods included “the use of banned steroids and unethical practices,” according to the BBC.

Former Salazar assistant Steve Magness said the coach “achieved the pinnacle of distance running success by cheating,” according to ProPublica.

Salazar denied wrongdoing.

“No athlete within the Oregon Project uses a medication against the spirit of the sport we love,” Salazar said in an email, according to ProPublica.

Salazar, who won three straight New York City Marathons from 1980-82, coaches Olympic 10,000m gold and silver medalists Brit Mo Farah and American Galen Rupp, among other athletes.

Neither Farah nor Rupp has ever failed a drug test.

“I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance,” Rupp said, according to the BBC, with ProPublica adding that Farah also emailed a similar statement.

Farah was not implicated in “inappropriate drug use” by any of the former Nike Oregon Project team members interviewed, according to ProPublica.

Salazar and Rupp issued further statements to media Wednesday, via The Associated Press and the Oregonian:

“I believe in a clean sport and hard work, and so do my athletes,” Salazar said. “Apparently that is not interesting enough for some.  I am very disappointed that the BBC and ProPublica and their ‘reporters’ have allowed themselves to be used by individuals with agendas and have engaged in such inaccurate and unfounded journalism. Rather than present the facts, they opted for sensationalism and innuendo. It is particularly sad that they have attacked Galen and his excellent reputation, which he has earned through years of hard work.”

“I am very disappointed in the BBC and ProPublica,” Rupp said. “I am dedicated to clean sport and have worked extemely hard for every accomplishment in my running career. I expressly told these reporters that these allegations were not true and their sources admit they have no evidence, yet they print “suspicions” attacking me and sullying my reputation. That is inexcusable, irresponsible journalism.”

Magness and former Nike Oregon Project runner Kara Goucher, a two-time U.S. Olympian, said they witnessed concerning practices with Rupp, a 29-year-old coached by Salazar since high school.

In a BBC TV report accompanying the website reports Wednesday, a reporter told Goucher that Rupp was the most drug tested U.S. athlete.

“So was Lance Armstrong,” Goucher responded. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

Magness said he saw a document that stated Rupp was on “testosterone medication” banned for athletes at a date that corresponded to when Rupp was in high school.

“Magness claimed when he questioned the coach about the document, Salazar said it had been a mistake,” the BBC reported.

Goucher said that when she was coached by Salazar, the coach told her to take a thyroid medication for which she did not have a prescription and was told by her doctor not to take.

“I loved him,” Goucher, tearing up on the BBC broadcast, said of Salazar, whom she left as a coach in 2011. “He was like a father figure to me [Goucher’s father was killed by a drunk driver when she was 4]. It feels like a betrayal, a little bit.”

Rupp finished third in a 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene, Ore., last Friday. Rupp and other U.S. athletes can qualify for August’s World Championships at the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., in three weeks.

Galen Rupp talks training with Mo Farah, marathons, weird drug test story

Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Kimmie Meissner, Casey entering skating Hall of Fame

Meryl Davis, Charlie White
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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — As they enter the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame, Meryl Davis and Charlie White ponder just who they are joining in receiving one of the highest honors in their sport.

“One of the things that makes it so special is we are friends with and respect so much so many previous people who have gone into the Hall of Fame,” Davis said before the induction ceremony Saturday. “Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamguchi, Brian Boitano — people we look up to and now we are in their company.”

As are 2006 world champion Kimmie Meissner and the late Kathy Casey, one of American figure skating’s most successful coaches.

Davis and White, along with training partners and friends Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, were at the forefront of bringing ice dance to previously unreachable heights for Americans. Once the abyss of the sport, Americans now tend to populate podiums in international competitions.

In 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, Davis and White followed Belbin and Agosto four years earlier as silver medalists. At the Sochi Games in 2014, they edged Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 champions, for the gold.

Davis and White won every U.S. title from 2009-14, plus two world crowns.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

But Davis and White were — and are — about so much more than their on-ice performances. He now coaches and she has been instrumental in the startup and development of Figure Skating in Detroit, an offshoot of the inner city Figure Skating in Harlem program that has been a rousing success in New York City.

“When we were young skaters and took the lay of the land of the sport,” White said, “we thought about becoming leaders of the sport. We recognized we would have a role as we were ascending and we felt it was a real responsibility. Be thoughtful and considerate with anyone you deal with. We tried to let our skating do the talking as competitors, but we wanted the way we conducted ourselves off the ice to be professional and helpful to the sport.

“We have felt the responsibility because of everything skating has given to us to give back responsibly and, in the end, to always be grateful.”

Meissner, still one of the few American women to master the triple Axel, also is one of those rare athletes to be a champion on all level. She won novice, junior and senior U.S. titles.

Her performance at age 16 at Calgary worlds soon after finishing sixth at the Turin Olympics as the youngest U.S. athlete not only was a highlight of her career but of any world championships.

“I was ready for that moment,” said Meissner, who also coaches and is in school to become a physician’s assistant. “I had been practicing that way pretty much before the Olympics. It was nerves at the Olympics and I was happy to salvage what I did.

“At worlds, I was not shocked at all that I skated clean at a time when it really needs to happen.”

Casey, who died in September, spent more than 50 years in the sport. She helped advance the biomechanical studies of jumps and was expert at helping skaters correct technical aspects of their performances. In 2005, she was the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sports Science Coach of the Year.

The official U.S. coach at three Olympics, Casey coached two-time U.S. champion Scott Davis (1993-94). She was the Professional Skaters Association president from 1989 to 1994, was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2008.

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MORE: Nathan Chen leads men’s short program, followed by world team battle

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Nathan Chen leads U.S. Figure Skating Championships, followed by world team battle

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Nathan Chen broke his own U.S. Figure Skating Championships short program scoring record, hitting two quadruple jumps en route to a whopping 13.14-point lead on Saturday.

Chen, trying to become the first man to win four straight national titles since Brian Boitano in 1988, tallied 114.13 points. Jason Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, is in second after beating Chen in artistic marks but lacking a quad. Andrew Torgashev is the surprise third-place skater going into Sunday’s free skate.

Chen hit a quad flip, triple Axel and a quad toe-triple toe combination in Greensboro, N.C., on limited practice due to a recent flu.

“I’m thrilled with it,” Chen, a Yale sophomore, said on NBC. “This was probably the least prepared I’ve been, but I really made good use of the last week, the week that I was able to actually start getting training in.”

Nationals continue later Saturday with the pairs’ free skate and the free dance, live on NBC Sports. A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

How substantial is Chen’s lead? No other skater, pair or dance couple has led a U.S. Championships by double digits after a short program since the Code of Points was instituted in 2006. Chen has now done it three times in the last four years.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, is all but assured to lead the three-man world championships team. Who will join him is what will be determined Sunday.

Brown is in strong position to go to a fourth world championships in Montreal in March. He was clean on his three jumping passes, though the only man in the top five without a quad. Brown is the second-ranked U.S. man overall this season, coming back from a late August concussion when his Uber ran a red light, T-boned another car, then swung sideways and hit the car a second time.

“The season has been such a struggle,” Brown said. “To work through each setback and to be able to put up a performance like that, that I’ve worked so hard to do, that’s where the emotion came from.”

Torgashev, who won the 2015 U.S. junior title at age 13, made his case with a clean short featuring a quad toe. Torgashev’s best senior nationals finish in three starts was seventh last year. He is the son of two world junior medalists from the Soviet Union.

Vincent Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, has twice finished second to Chen at nationals. He was strong on Saturday considering his turbulent season, placing fourth with a quad Salchow.

Zhou attempted to match Chen last fall by balancing Ivy League classes with training. It didn’t work, and he went the entire autumn without committed skating. He decided to take a break from Brown University and move to Toronto to train under a new coach, Lee Barkell.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Adam Rippon takes pleasure in new role — coaching U.S. silver medalist

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.