DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Track coach Alberto Salazar, who trained four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and has a handful of runners competing in this week’s world championships, has been given a four-year ban in a case long pursued by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
USADA said in a news release that came out early Tuesday that an arbitration panel decided on a four-year ban for Salazar and endocrinologist Jeffrey Brown for, among other violations, possessing and trafficking testosterone while training top runners at the Nike Oregon Project (NOP).
Brown did consulting work for the NOP and was a personal physician for some of the runners.
Among those listed as members of Salazar’s team are Sifan Hassan, who won the worlds 10,000-meter gold medal on Saturday night, and Donavan Brazier and Clayton Murphy, each of whom are scheduled to run in the 800-meter final Tuesday.
The USADA ban went into effect Monday. USA Track and Field said it was in the process of trying to have Salazar’s credential revoked for the rest of the championships.
The existence of a long-running USADA investigation became public after a 2015 report by BBC and ProPublica that detailed some of Salazar’s practices, which included use of testosterone gel and infusions of a supplement called L-carnitine that, when mixed with insulin, can greatly enhance athletic performance.
Distance runner Kara Goucher and a former NOP coach, Steve Magness, were among the witnesses who provided evidence for the case. USADA said it received information from 30 witnesses. Goucher left NOP in 2011, and in the ProPublica piece, she called Salazar a “sort of a win-at-all-costs person and it’s hurting the sport.”
In a statement released by NOP, Salazar said he was shocked by the arbitration outcome, and that he would appeal. He said throughout a six-year investigation, he and his athletes “endured unjust, unethical and highly damaging treatment from the USADA.”
“The Oregon Project has never and will never permit doping,” Salazar said.
Farah, who runs for Britain, worked with the Nike Oregon Project while he was racking up six world and four Olympic championships. During that period, UK Athletics did its own investigation into Salazar and gave Farah the OK to continue working with him. Farah parted ways with Salazar in 2017, saying he wanted to move back home.
Salazar also coached 2012 Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp. Rupp and Farah have, in the past, strongly denied any wrongdoing.
USADA said it relied on more than 2,000 exhibits between the two cases and that proceedings included nearly 5,800 pages of transcripts.
“The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. “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.”
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