Nike Oregon Project hit with doping allegations

Coach Alberto Salazar and Portland-based Olympic medalist implicated in report.

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A report from the BBC and Propublica alleges that two of the most prominent people in the Nike Oregon Project were involved in doping.

Famed coach Alberto Salazar and Portland-based Olympic medalist Galen Rupp were accused of using performance-enhancing drugs by a former assistant coach at the project.

In a frenetic sprint to the finish, Great Britain’s Mo Farah and American Galen Rupp—friends and training partners at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon—pulled away from a pack of east Africans to cross the line first and second, a mere half-second apart, before turning to embrace. Ethiopian men had won the previous four Olympic 10Ks, and the last time an American man earned a medal of any color was in 1964, 22 years before Rupp was born. A giant banner featuring a photo of the duo’s exultant finish would soon adorn a fitness center on Nike’s campus, the same center recently un-named for cyclist Lance Armstrong.  

And yet, [Steve] Magness could not revel in the laudatory texts. “It’s supposed to be this grand moment where you played a role in helping someone do something that no one thought was possible, and it’s the complete opposite,” Magness recalls. Instead, it was “one of the most disheartening moments of my life.” That’s because Magness is convinced that the Oregon Project’s head coach—running icon Alberto Salazar—had achieved the pinnacle of distance running success by cheating. published Salazar and Rupp’s responses to the report:

Salazar’s statement reads, in part: ‘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.”

Rupp’s statement, in part, reads: ‘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.”

The report also reveals that Rupp allegedly was given anabolic steroids in high school while at Catholic Central in Portland.

No member of the Nike Oregon Project has ever failed a drug test for performance-enhancing drugs.