Report | Nike Oregon Project encounters alleged doping scandal

3 March 2004: Central Catholic High School Coach Alberto Salazar in Portland, OR. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck/Icon SMI
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After a successful career as a competitive runner, Alberto Salazar has since teamed up with Nike in order to train up-and-coming runners through the Oregon Project. However, it appears that Salazar and his team may be in some hot water after encountering an alleged doping scandal.

“Dathan Ritzenhein, an Olympic distance runner for the United States, was starting to feel sick from his thyroid medication — a drug that was not medically necessary but one that his coach, a powerful and combative figure in the sport, had strongly recommended to improve his performance,” writes Matt Hart of the New York Times.

“Ritzenhein’s experience, along with incidents involving several other athletes, were laid out in vivid detail in a confidential report written by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that was obtained by The New York Times.”

Such a report, which also included additional information uncovered by The Times of London, featured more than 269 pages and described ongoing coercion, an abundance of secrets and the potential for medical malpractice. While seemingly attempting to return American distance running to the world stage, Salazar has continued to deny such allegations regarding potential violations of anti-doping rules.

It is also worth noting that the United States Anti-Doping Agency originally began investigating Salazar, in addition to the Oregon Project as a whole, back in 2015.

“Antidoping officials depicted Salazar as a medicine chest whose door swung open for the world-class athletes on Nike’s payroll,” the aforementioned Hart continued. “They said he provided or helped gain access to prescription-dose vitamin D; calcitonin; ferrous sulfate; Advair; testosterone; and various thyroid medications. Many of the drugs have no proven benefits for runners.”

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