Alberto Salazar has issued an extensive 12,000 word response to the recent BBC and ProPublica claims that, among other acts of misconduct, he had given long-distance runner Galen Rupp banned performance-enhancing substances.
In an open letter that he has published on the website of the Oregon Project, the 56-year-old rubbished allegations claiming that his accusers were at best “misinformed” and at worst “lying”.
Salazar’s opened his letter by addressing directly the claim that Galen Rupp had used prednisone (a prohibited corticosteroid) since he was 15-years-old, a claim he holds firm is false. Salazar noted that Rupp has “asthma and Hashimotos disease, a thyroid disease” which had already been disclosed to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
He argued that Rupp had received Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) only twice for prednisone, which Rupp used as a short-term treatment for asthma in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Salazar flatly denied that Rupp was given prednisone for a competitive advantage and called such claims “inaccurate and hurtful”.
Salazar’s statement also addressed the report by Dr. Lore Myhre which explicitly stated that Rupp was using testorone in 2002, he said:
“My clear recollection is that when he showed it to me, I stated that the entry was “crazy” as Galen had never taken testosterone. I then stated that Galen, as a 16-year old kid, must have misspoken about the supplements he was taking. Like many legal supplements, the labels make a number of claims about boosting one’s testosterone, improving performance and other such marketing statements. Galen likely made some comment about taking something related to a testosterone supplement.”
The letter went on to discuss Steve Magness who had alerted press to Dr Myhre’s report, criticising Magness for not probing Myhre as to the meaning of the report before he Myhre died in 2012. Salazar denies that Magness had parted ways with the Oregon Project in 2012 of his own volition, claiming that the contract was terminated in 2012 by Salazar after complaints that he had established an inappropriate relationship with a female athlete. He also claimed that Magness was a “poor coach who had difficulty building rapport with world class athletes.”
He claimed that Magness is now “spreading malicious false allegations” motivated by the termination of what Magness had previously termed in an interview with Runners World in 2011 a “dream job”.
Magness last night addressed the claim that his contract had been terminated unilaterally by the Oregon Project, claiming that the decision for Magness to leave the was the result of a “mutual termination”, he said:
“I also have a recording of the conversation Alberto and I had when we decided to part ways, which makes absolutely zero mention of any relationship between myself and any other athlete, or any mention of departing for failure as a coach,” he said. “I did not have a relationship with any athlete during my time at the Nike Oregon Project.
“Salazar goes to great lengths to use a July 2011 interview with me as evidence of my thought process at the time. I’d like to point out that since my employer was Nike at the time, I knew that speaking my true feelings would certainly jeopardise my career, so I stuck with the politically correct answers out of fear.
“Since leaving Nike, this fear has been realised and demonstrated on many occasions, first with the insistence of disclaimers and phone calls following a Lance Armstrong piece I wrote, which were followed up with a confrontation at the 2013 London athletics meeting. It’s humbling to say but the intimidation and fear of speaking out is what kept me from publicly addressing my concerns at that time.
“Salazar paints me as an inadequate coach, which my performance before and after Nike I dispute. In the past two years I have coached three individuals to top 20 at world championships.”
Salazar’s letter also addressed a number of other allegations that have been raised in light of BBC’s Panorama documentary, including claims that he had conducted a sabotage “experiment” of Androgel, following Justin Gatlin’s positive test for exogenous testosterone, to determine wheter or not it was detectable under a drug test.
You can read Alberto Salazar’s open letter in full here at the Nike Oregon Project website.