Former Nike coach Alberto Salazar suspended months after emotional, physical abuse allegations

Months after Mary Cain detailed allegations against Alberto Salazar and Nike, the U.S. Center for SafeSport suspended the longtime running coach. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Longtime Nike running coach Alberto Salazar was handed a temporary suspension by the U.S. Center for SafeSport on Friday night, just months after he and his program were accused of “emotionally and physically” abusing athletes, according to USA Today.

It’s not specifically clear what allegations led to his suspension on Friday, though SafeSport does have the authority over sexual, emotional and physical abuse cases within the U.S. Olympic community, per the report. 

Former runner Mary Cain opened up about her struggles training with Salazar and the Oregon Project in a New York Times report in November.

Cain was perhaps the best long distance runner in the country when she signed with Nike in 2013, holding several national records and claiming a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships that year. Yet while at Nike, Cain said Salazar and his all-male staff “became convinced” she needed to lose weight, ignored her complaints and publicly shamed and berated her. She developed both suicidal thoughts and RED-S Syndrome, didn’t have her period for three years and broke five different bones before finally quitting the team.

Salazar was banned from the sport in September by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for violating its anti-doping rules. Nike has since shut down the Oregon Project, too, though Salazar has denied many of Cain’s claims.

"We take the allegations extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes,” Nike said in a statement after Cain’s allegations. “At Nike we seek to always put the athlete at the center of everything we do, and these allegations are completely inconsistent with our values."

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