Nike Oregon Project head coach Alberto Salazar called allegations of cheating from his former athletes and staff “demonstrably false” after spending hours reviewing information from the past 15 years to write an 11,000-word response to BBC and ProPublica reports from June 3.
Salazar denied that he violated medical and anti-doping rules with his athletes.
“Some have tried to console me by saying public attacks like these are the price of success in today’s world,” Salazar wrote to conclude a two-part letter published on nikeoregonproject.com. “You win: people will try to tear you down. That’s not my world. That’s not the Oregon Project. Here, success is earned with talent, hard work, dedication and fair play…. and, that’s how it is going to stay. Let the haters hate; we’re going to keep winning through hard work, dedication and fair play.”
Salazar attached 30 documents — including copies of emails with medical and training information for his athletes — 15 days after he said he hoped to be afforded “a short time to show the accusers are knowingly making false statements. I will document and present the facts as quickly as I can,” according to the Guardian.
Salazar’s prized American runner, Olympic 10,000m silver medalist Galen Rupp, was one of the focuses of the BBC and ProPublica reports. Rupp has never failed a drug test.
Former Salazar assistant Steve Magness and former Nike Oregon Project runner Kara Goucher, a two-time U.S. Olympian, said they witnessed concerning medical or training practices with Rupp, a 29-year-old coached by Salazar since high school.
In the June 3 BBC TV report, 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.”
In Wednesday’s response, Salazar said that Rupp provided the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) “with over 500 pages of medical records and documents regarding his asthma treatment and the medications he had taken” dating to May 2001.
USADA is investigating the allegations against Salazar, according to The Associated Press.
“Allegations that Galen takes asthma and thyroid medicine for competitive purposes are inaccurate and hurtful,” Salazar wrote. “Galen takes asthma medication so he can breathe normally – not so he can run better.
“All Oregon Project athletes are instructed to declare any and all supplements that they are currently taking on their USADA or IAAF Doping Control Official Record forms whenever they are tested. Neither USADA nor the IAAF has ever raised an issue with any of the supplements listed on an Oregon Project athlete’s declaration form.”
Rupp is scheduled to compete in the USA Track and Field Championships in the 5000m and 10,000m. His first race is the 10,000m on Thursday at 11:15 p.m. ET at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.