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Track coach Alberto Salazar’s 4-year doping ban upheld by CAS

Salazar is the former marathon champion who, as coach of the Nike Oregon Project, trained a long list of championship distance runners including Mo Farah, Galen Rupp and, for a time, Kara Goucher

By: PTI/AP |
September 16, 2021 10:40:51 am
SalazarA person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the bans for both Salazar and endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown, first passed down in 2019, had been upheld (File)

Track coach Alberto Salazar received no relief from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which upheld his four-year ban for a series of doping-related violations that had long been pursued by American regulators.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the bans for both Salazar and endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown, first passed down in 2019, had been upheld.

The person did not want to be identified because CAS has not yet released the full report, which is expected soon.

Salazar is the former marathon champion who, as coach of the Nike Oregon Project, trained a long list of championship distance runners including Mo Farah, Galen Rupp and, for a time, Kara Goucher. None of his former runners have been charged with doping violations.

Tipped off by Goucher and others, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigated Salazar and the running team for about six years before handing down sanctions in 2019.

Among Salazar’s practices, according to the USADA investigation, was sending athletes to Brown’s office to be infused with a supplement called L-carnitine at doses that surpassed allowable thresholds; the coach also experimented on his sons using testosterone gels.

Salazar has proclaimed he did nothing wrong. He did not immediately respond to an email sent late Wednesday night by AP.

The upholding of the doping ban might not have any practical effect on the 63-year-old coach, who is appealing a lifetime ban handed down earlier this summer by the U.S. Center for SafeSport for sexual and emotional misconduct.

In 2019, a handful of runners, including Goucher, Mary Cain, and Amy Yoder Begley revealed that they had been emotionally and physically abused while working with Salazar as part of the NOP, which was disbanded shortly after the doping ban was revealed.

Arbitrators who decided the case in USADA’s favor during the appeal that led to the 2019 decision said that in addition to the L-carnitine infusions, there were “numerous other examples of this type of medical’ direction in the record of this case.”

The directions involved calcium supplements, anti-inflammatories, sleep medication and the consistent pushing of thyroid medicine that is often used to increase metabolism and control weight.

The CAS and SafeSport decisions appear to be career enders for Salazar, who won four major marathon titles in New York and Boston in the early 80s, then went on to found NOP, which stood as one of the world’s most-renowned track clubs for nearly two decades.

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