According to a BBC report on Wednesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the four-year suspension imposed on former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar for doping violations. The ban was announced in the middle of the World Championships in 2019, and he was suddenly banned from the stadium in Doha. None of the athletes was directly implicated.
Salazar, 63, was the head coach of the NOP, whose former athletes have included a number of high-profile runners like Sir Mo Farah (who left the project in 2017), Galen Rupp, Mary Cain (who subsequently accused Salazar of physical and emotional abuse) and Kara Goucher (whose testimony helped lead to Salazar’s conviction). The NOP was shut down weeks later. Team endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Brown, who is believed to have prescribed treatments and medicines in excess of allowable limits under WADA rules, was also banned for four years. Earlier this year, the U.S. Center for SafeSport imposed a lifetime ban.
The CAS’s full report is expected to be made public in the next few days. According to the BBC, the CAS heard Salazar’s appeal in March, 2021.
The documentary Nike’s Big Bet, by Canadian filmmaker Paul Kemp, tells the story and features commentary by track fans and journalists, including Chris Chavez, Alex Hutchinson and Malcolm Gladwell. Some have questioned the reasons for the ban, viewing the former coach’s practices as pushing, but not exceeding, the legal boundaries when it came to maximizing athletes’ performance.