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

Emily Sweeney posts fastest time in qualifier for luge World Cup opener

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World championship bronze medalist Emily Sweeney placed first in the Nations Cup luge race Friday in Innsbruck, Austria, qualifying with ease for the first World Cup event of the season.

Twelve women, including fellow American Summer Britcher, were seeded directly into the World Cup race. Sweeney, Brittney Arndt and Ashley Farquharson all qualified from the Nations Cup race. Britcher has finished third in the overall World Cup standings for two straight years and is a contender in a wide-open year with seven-time defending champion Natalie Geisenberger taking a year off while pregnant.

MORE: Geisenberg will not race in 2019-20

In the men’s competition, Jonny Gustafson and Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer finished third and fifth in the Nations Cup race to advance. Tucker West claimed the second-to-last qualifying spot to get all three U.S. sliders in Sunday’s World Cup race.

Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman qualified for the doubles competition, ensuring all eight U.S. sliders will see the weekend races.

OlympicChannel.com will have live streaming this weekend (all times ET):

  • Women: Saturday, 4:15 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.
  • Doubles: Saturday, 7:05 a.m. and 8:25 a.m.
  • Men: Sunday, 4 a.m. and 5:35 a.m.
  • Team relay: Sunday, 7:40 a.m.

Highlights will be on television at the following times:

  • Saturday: Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Olympic Channel, 5:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: NBCSN, 4:30 p.m.

Next weekend, the World Cup series heads to Lake Placid, N.Y.

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Russian track and field federation faces expulsion threat over new doping allegations

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MOSCOW (AP) — The governing body for track and field will consider expelling Russia from membership following new charges that senior officials faked medical records.

Russia has been suspended by World Athletics, formerly known as the IAAF, over widespread doping since 2015. There will be a review of whether vetted Russians should still be allowed to compete in international events as neutrals.

“We need to deal with renegade factions like this,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said Friday in Monaco.

World Athletics has frozen talks about lifting the long-running suspension and asked its Russia task force for recommendations on expelling the country’s track federation.

“It’s not symbolic,” said Coe, who said the charges and suspensions against Russian officials were so wide-ranging that they left the task force with almost no one left to talk to.

One route could be to close the Russian track federation and set up a new national governing body. Russia’s sports minister said he had referred the federation to a commission which oversees such matters.

Federation president Dmitry Shlyakhtin and four other senior officials are accused of obstructing the investigation into 2017 world championship silver medalist Danil Lysenko, who was accused last year of failing to make himself available for drug testing.

Lysenko allegedly provided fake medical documents as an alibi with help from the officials. He and his coach have also been suspended by the Athletics Integrity Unit pending full disciplinary hearings.

Also Friday, the three-time world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene assailed Russian track leaders after they were charged Thursday, saying they have made a “doping nightmare” even worse.

Lasitskene called for swift and radical reforms, and the removal of officials appointed by Shlyakhtin.

Shlyakhtin took office shortly after the federation was suspended from international competition for widespread doping. The suspension remains in place four years later.

“The new team, whose task was to take us out of this doping nightmare, has turned out no better than the old one. And in some ways worse,” Lasitskene wrote on Instagram. “Shlyakhtin and his team must quit their posts immediately and never come back. And I will make sure this happens.”

Lasitskene has won two of her three world titles as a neutral athlete as a result of Russia’s suspension, which also caused her to miss the 2016 Olympics.

“Our track and field is in its death throes and we can’t procrastinate anymore,” she wrote. “We’ve lost four years already. Clean athletes are still defenseless and not sure they’ll be able to compete tomorrow.”

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov expressed concern about the “emergency situation” and referred the federation to a ministry commission which could officially withdraw its government recognition.

“The future fate of the track and field federation will be examined,” Kolobkov said Friday in a video statement. “For us now, the main thing is that the training process isn’t interrupted. That means all of the athletes will get the help they need to continue the training and competition process.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said the charges against Shlyakhtin and others won’t derail the country’s preparations to compete in next year’s Olympics.

“Undoubtedly, this (situation) requires attention from the sports authorities, and I’m sure they’re dealing with it,” said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “But I don’t see a direct connection with Russia’s participation in the Olympics here.”

With Shlyakhtin suspended, the federation is set to select an interim president at a board meeting on Saturday.

Russia is also facing a World Anti-Doping Agency ruling next month on whether it manipulated data from a lab in Moscow.

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