Track coach Alberto Salazar, who trained four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and a number of other top runners, has been given a four-year ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
USADA said in a news release Monday that Salazar and Jeffrey Brown were receiving four-year bans for, among other violations, possessing and trafficking testosterone while working at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP), where they trained top runners.
Brown was a paid consultant for the NOP and a physician for many of the runners.
A four-year USADA investigation began after a BBC report detailing some of Salazar’s practices, which included infusions of a legal supplement called L-carnitine that is supposed to enhance athletic performance.
Marathoner Kara Goucher and a former NOP coach, Steve Magness, were among the dozens of witnesses who provided evidence for the case.
A Nike spokesperson issued the following statement in response to Salazar’s ban:
“Today’s decision had nothing to do with administering banned substances to any Oregon Project athlete. As the panel noted, they were struck by the amount of care Alberto took to ensure he was complying with the World Anti-Doping Code.
We support Alberto in his decision to appeal and wish him the full measure of due process that the rules require. Nike does not condone the use of banned substances in any manner.”
In a statement released on the Nike Oregon Project website, Salazar said:
“I am shocked by the outcome today. Throughout this six-year investigation my athletes and I have endured unjust, unethical and highly damaging treatment from USADA. This is demonstrated by the misleading statement released by Travis Tygart stating that we put winning ahead of athlete safety. This is completely false and contrary to the findings of the arbitrators, who even wrote about the care I took in complying with the World Anti-Doping code:
“The Panel notes that the Respondent does not appear to have been motivated by any bad intention to commit the violations the Panel found. In fact, the Panel was struck by the amount of care generally taken by Respondent to ensure that whatever new technique or method or substance he was going to try was lawful under the World Anti-Doping Code, with USADA’s witness characterizing him as the coach they heard from the most with respect to trying to ensure that he was complying with his obligations.”
“I have always ensured the WADA code is strictly followed. The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping. I will appeal and look forward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusion I know to be true. I will not be commenting further at this time.”