Abuse claims push runners to share Nike tales

Former teen working star Mary Cain’s account this week of body-shaming and alleged psychological abuse on the not too long ago disbanded Nike Oregon Challenge is prompting different prime athletes to come back ahead.

Amy Yoder Begley, a 10,000-meter runner, stated Friday that she was advised she had the “greatest butt on the beginning line.” Kara Goucher’s husband stated the Olympian endured “disgusting” feedback from coaches.


Nike says it is investigating, however the cascade of allegations which have adopted Oregon Challenge director Alberto Salazar’s four-year doping ban have some within the sport saying a day of reckoning was lengthy overdue.

Questions on Salazar’s strategies together with his posse of prime U.S. runners had swirled for years earlier than the U.S. Anti-Doping Company discovered him responsible final month of conducting experiments with dietary supplements and testosterone that had been bankrolled and supported by Nike.


However Cain’s plaintive story of harassment and abuse whereas she was a part of Salazar’s coaching group, which she joined as a 17-year-old phenomenon in 2013, has emboldened different former Nike Oregon Challenge athletes to share their tales.

In a New York Instances video essay, Cain, now 23, says: “I used to be emotionally and bodily abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike.”

Cain stated she was harangued to shed weight and publicly humiliated when she did not hit targets, stopped having her interval for 3 years, and misplaced a lot bone density she broke 5 bones. She stated it received to the purpose the place she began reducing herself and having suicidal ideas. She left this system in 2016.

Salazar, who has denied any involvement in doping, issued an announcement to The Oregonian on Friday saying: “I by no means inspired her, or worse but, shamed her, to keep up an unhealthy weight.”

Nike stated in an announcement these are “deeply troubling allegations which haven’t been raised by Mary or her mother and father earlier than. Mary was searching for to rejoin the Oregon Challenge and Alberto’s staff as not too long ago as April of this 12 months and had not raised these issues as a part of that course of.”

Cain acknowledged trying to work with Salazar once more, noting she did so as a result of “once we let individuals emotionally break us, we crave their approval greater than something.” She stated Salazar’s doping ban helped her discover the readability to talk out concerning the abusive situations.

The sportswear big additionally stated it would “take the allegations extraordinarily significantly and can launch a right away investigation to listen to from former Oregon Challenge athletes.”

They’re already speaking.

Nike is investigating allegations by former middle-distance runner Mary Cain that she suffered bodily and psychological abuse as a member of the Nike Oregon Challenge. Her story has prompted different runners to come back ahead as effectively. Invoice Frakes for ESPN

4-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan, who retired from aggressive working final month to develop into a coach with the Nike Bowerman Monitor Membership, tweeted to Cain that “I had no thought it was this unhealthy.” Flanagan, the 2017 New York Metropolis Marathon champion, is a longtime Nike runner however was by no means a part of the Oregon Challenge.

“I am so sorry … that I by no means reached out to you after I noticed you struggling,” Flanagan wrote. “I made excuses to myself as to why I ought to thoughts my very own enterprise. We allow you to down. I’ll by no means flip my head once more.”

Yoder Begley, who now coaches the Atlanta Monitor Membership, stated she was kicked out of Salazar’s group after putting sixth within the 10,000 meters on the 2011 nationwide championships.

“I used to be advised I used to be too fats and ‘had the most important butt on the beginning line.’ This brings these painful reminiscences again,” the 2008 Olympian stated.

Goucher, a former Oregon Challenge runner who helped present proof for USADA’s case in opposition to Salazar, tweeted “the tradition was insufferable.”

Her husband, Adam Goucher, who additionally ran for the group, tweeted that after she positioned fifth within the 2011 Boston Marathon in a private finest of two hours, 24 minutes — one of many quickest occasions for an American girl that 12 months, and 6 months after having a toddler — Salazar and a sports activities psychologist advised her mom and sister she wanted to lose her child weight if she needed to be quick once more.

Thanks @runmarycain for sharing your story. Whereas my weight was additionally a difficulty whereas at NOP, it was disgusting to see the way in which @karagoucher and @yoderbegley our bodies had been talked about. Perhaps now a few of you may see why I had a lot anger once we left NOP.

— Adam Goucher (@Adam_Goucher) November eight, 2019

So many tales however one jumps to thoughts. After the Boston marathon in 2011, the place my spouse @karagoucher positioned fifth in 2:24 6(!) months after giving beginning to our son, each Alberto and Darren Treasure went as much as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and stated,

— Adam Goucher (@Adam_Goucher) November eight, 2019

“Do not inform Kara, however she continues to be too heavy. She must lose her child weight if she desires to be quick once more.” Kara had GIVEN BIRTH 6 months prior and simply ran 2:24. No celebration on her super run, simply judgement on her physique.

— Adam Goucher (@Adam_Goucher) November eight, 2019

Adam Goucher stated his personal weight was additionally a difficulty whereas he skilled beneath Salazar.