“I was told I was too fat and ‘had the biggest butt on the starting line,’” Yoder Begley wrote.
Goucher, another American Olympian who once trained with the Nike Oregon Project, told The Times that after being cooked meager meals by an assistant coach, she often ate more in the privacy of her room, nervous that she would be heard opening the wrappers of energy bars she furtively consumed.
Salazar replied to Cain’s 2019 video in a statement to The Oregonian newspaper: “Neither of her parents nor Mary raised any of the issues that she now suggests occurred while I was coaching her. To be clear, I never encouraged her, or worse yet, shamed her, to maintain an unhealthy weight.”
Cain acknowledged at the time that she had sought to train again with Salazar, seeking an apology, closure and his approval. But she described their relationship as poisonous, saying, “I was the victim of an abusive system, an abusive man.”
Salazar told Sports Illustrated in 2019 that his “foremost goal” was to promote athletic performance in line with the good health and well-being of his athletes, but he acknowledged, “On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive.”
He apologized to any athletes hurt by his remarks, saying they were not intended to be distressing. But he added, “I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.”
In a statement, a Nike spokeswoman said “Alberto is no longer a contracted coach and we shuttered the Oregon project almost 2 years ago,” and that the company would not comment further. Nike employed Salazar as a coach for two decades and even named a building after him on its Beaverton, Ore., campus.
Once a star runner himself, Salazar won the 1982 Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon in 1980, ’81 and ’82. At the height of his coaching prowess, he helped guide Mo Farah of Britain to gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at both the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Salazar’s top American star, Galen Rupp, took silver in the 10,000 meters at the London Olympics and a bronze in the marathon in Rio.