Nike announces plans to shut down Oregon Project in aftermath of Alberto Salazar's doping ban

The Oregon Project's Salazar, best known for coaching Britain's four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, was last week handed a four-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a catalogue of drugs violations

Agence France-Presse October 21, 2019 23:06:44 IST
Nike announces plans to shut down Oregon Project in aftermath of Alberto Salazar's doping ban
  • Nike said on Friday it plans to shut down its Oregon Project training group after top athletics coach Alberto Salazar was banned for four years for doping

  • The US sportswear giant had initially backed Salazar's plans to appeal against the decision after the 61-year-old Cuban-born American denied the allegations

  • Athletes from the Oregon Project won three gold medals at the World Athletics Championships this month

Washington: Nike said on Friday it plans to shut down its Oregon Project training group after top athletics coach Alberto Salazar was banned for four years for doping.

Nike announces plans to shut down Oregon Project in aftermath of Alberto Salazars doping ban

File photo of Alberto Salazar. AP Photo

Salazar, best known for coaching Britain's four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, was last week handed a four-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a catalogue of drugs violations.

The US sportswear giant had initially backed Salazar's plans to appeal against the decision after the 61-year-old Cuban-born American denied the allegations.

But in a memo to staff, Nike CEO Mark Parker said the project was being terminated because of the scandal.

"This situation, along with ongoing unsubstantiated assertions, is a distraction for many of the athletes and is compromising their ability to focus on their training and competition needs," Parker said, adding, "I have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project."

Parker said however that Nike would still support Salazar in his appeal.

"A four-year suspension for someone who acted in good faith is wrong," said Parker in the memo, adding that "the panel found there was no orchestrated doping, no finding that performance-enhancing drugs have ever been used on Oregon Project athletes and went out of its way to note Alberto’s desire to follow all rules".

However, he admitted that "Alberto can no longer coach while the appeal is pending".

Athletes from the Oregon Project won three gold medals at the World Athletics Championships this month. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the women's 1500 metres and 10,000 while Donavan Brazier of the US took the men's 800m gold. There is no suggestion either athlete has been involved in doping.

Nike's decision to shut down the project came after athletes including US runner Kara Goucher, who was coached by Salazar from 2004 to 2011 and provided key evidence in the case against him, told the BBC Nike could not justify keeping it open.

"It (NOP) has to go," Goucher said.

"If I was Nike I'd be bringing in some new coaches and move on from this Oregon Project, because clearly it had principles not in line with clean sport and we have to just start over."

Jeffrey Brown, a Texas endocrinologist who treated many of Salazar's athletes at the Oregon training hub in Portland, was also suspended for four years.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Avinash Sable says he ‘could have run faster’ after smashing national record at Delhi Half Marathon
Sports

Avinash Sable says he ‘could have run faster’ after smashing national record at Delhi Half Marathon

Avinash Sable is not a man of too many words. But he's someone who sets audacious goals. After breaking the half marathon national record, he believes he can run a steeplechase in 8:05.00.

Diamond League track and field series plans for 14 meets in 2021 starting May
Sports

Diamond League track and field series plans for 14 meets in 2021 starting May

Organisers said Tuesday the series is scheduled to start on 23 May in Rabat, Morocco, take a one-month break for the postponed Tokyo Olympics, and end with a 8-9 September meet in Zurich.

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon: Two-time champion Tsehay Gemechu aiming to break course record for third year running
Sports

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon: Two-time champion Tsehay Gemechu aiming to break course record for third year running

The 21-year-old Gemechu made a huge impact on her ADHM debut in 2018, setting a women's course record of 66:50. She then went on to better her own record by 50 seconds when she ran a stunning personal best of 66 minutes last year.