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Alberto Salazar gets four-year ban for doping violations

The controversial head coach of the Nike Oregon Project is reported to have been found guilty of doping violations

Alberto Salazar

The US Anti-Doping Agency has banned Alberto Salazar, head coach of the Nike Oregon Project, for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case. The details appear in a BBC report by journalist Mark Daly and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the NOP’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters. Salazar is former coach to Mo Farah and Kara Goucher and current coach of marathoner Galen Rupp and the newly-crowned 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, among others.

Alberto Salazar

Salazar has been under investigation by USADA ever since the appearance of a 2015 BBC Panorama documentary alleging doping and other unethical practices.

The USADA statement says that Salazar and endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Brown are banned from athletics for four years following a decision by the American Arbitrators Association for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct while acting, respectively, as head coach of the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) and as a paid consultant for the NOP on performance enhancement and as physician for numerous athletes in the NOP.”

The statement quotes USADA head Travis Tygart, who implies that Salazar’s athletes exposed the truth about what was going on inside the NOP. Tygart goes on: “While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”

The charges against Salazar are as follows:

  1. Administration of a Prohibited Method (with respect to an infusion in excess of the applicable limit),
  2. Tampering and/or attempted tampering with the doping control process, and
  3. Trafficking of testosterone
  4. Trafficking of testosterone through involvement in a testosterone testing program in violation of the rules.

RELATED: Mo Farah splits from coach Alberto Salazar and Oregon Project

The BBC report says that when the allegations first surfaced, UK Athletics conducted its own investigation, and allowed Farah, a four-time Olympic gold medallist in the 5,000m and 10,000m and six-time world champion on the track, to continue working with Salazar, though the two parted ways in 2017. At that time Farah denied he was leaving because of the doping allegations, claiming he simply wanted to move back to London.

Mo Farah
Photo: Mo Farah/Instagram

The ban goes into effect today. At this point none of Salazar’s athletes has been directly implicated.

Farah will defend his Chicago Marathon title on October 13. Rupp, who won the Chicago Marathon in 2017, is also running. Hassan is set to run the World Championship 1,500m heats on Wednesday.