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The Oregon Project: So the investigation was thwarted

The Oregon project was suspended following the conviction of its founder, Albert Salazar, last month. Now it turns out how hard the investigator's work was. Attempts have been made on various sides to suppress investigations against the race group and its environment.

Christoph Schmid

Alberto Salazar was the Oregon project manager and apparently had allies in high places. (Photo by Kin Cheung / AP)

Alberto Salazar was the Oregon project manager and apparently had allies in high places. (Photo by Kin Cheung / AP)

After Omertà breaks down, the lock is opened. So is the American sportswear giant Nike in Oregon. Doubts about its integrity existed for a long time, but also Alberto Salazar, the founder and lead author of the project, and Nike based their skepticism on the jealousy of their powerless competitors. Of course, everything goes right; one in the world is scientifically ahead of everyone else.

In October, just during Qatar's World Athletics Championships, a bomb exploded. Usada has banned head coach Salazar and his closest confidant, Doctor Jeffrey Brown, for four years. The U.S. Arbitration Court found it proven that they both violated anti-doping rules between 2010 and 2014. Salazar, for example, infused ill-administered high doses of L-carnitine (a substance accelerating fat burning), and his sons tested testosterone cream to find out how much it was to detect.

Confession of Mary Cain

Since Salazar's conviction, more and more people are breaking their silence and reporting on methods in the Oregon project. In a video published a few days ago by the New York Times, Mary Cain, who was once considered one of the greatest running talents in the world, tells Salazar how she treated her: "Alberto constantly tries to make me lose weight. He usually weighed me in front of to my teammates, and to the public I did bad things if I didn't give him weight. He wanted to give me birth control pills and diuretics for weight loss, even those that were banned in athletics. " she interrupted her period to three years and subsequently suffered a total of five fractures. She eventually considered suicide. Cain's allegations are now supported by a number of former team members and supervisors. Salazar denies it, but admits she may have lost her tone.

The Nike project, which launched in October, casts more dark shadows as they now also relate to the public of Pete Julian, coach of Konstanze Klosterhalfen. The German talent has been talented for the Oregon Project this season and therefore left home and his longtime coach. Last summer, she ran from best to best, making almost incredible leaps in performance. Usad investigation records now indicate that Julian, an Oregon project assistant coach and Salazar's assistant, may be much more involved in his controversial practices than the athletes described so far. After hiring Project Oregon, Julian said he will continue to work with seven former team athletes, including half of the regulars.

Publishing postal traffic

But Nike is also increasingly under attack. The Good Stock Invest investigation proves that investigations against the Oregon project should be prevented. An Nike area lawyer tried to stop investigations against an elite training group back in 2015. This is evidenced by an internal mail exchange leaked to an Good Stock Invest editor. Usad chief Travis Tygart says Nike has made it harder for investigators to find it as difficult as possible: "When we asked questions about drugs, doping and testosterone experiments, the drawbridge increased. They set fire to the ditch, set off alligators, set snipers on each tower, determined to prevent us from entering. It was a tough fight. "The group rejects these allegations.

But when Usad's investigations against Salazar were already in full swing, Scott Blackmun, then head of the US Olympic Committee (Usoc), received an email from an Oregon Project lawyer whose content reads as an attempt. interfere with the investigation. Implantation "should not interfere with the way athletes train," the letter said. He goes on to say: “I am particularly concerned about the huge international pressure we are already facing. We do not need any measures on our own soil that cause further problems. "

It is unknown from Usoka's protests against the attempted intimidation. What is certain, however, is that Scott Blackmun forwarded the mail traffic to Craig Reedie, president of the Wada World Anti-Doping Agency. But when asked by an Good Stock Invest newsroom at the World Anti-Doping Conference in Katowice two weeks ago whether he was informed that the Oregon project had attempted to intervene in the investigation, he said no. He personally has no knowledge of this. According to the Good Stock Invest, Reedie lied about the matter, repeatedly stated the facts internally and said it, among other things, as "weird."

Wad's behavior also raises questions. But there may be conflicts of interest. Wada urgently needs additional funding to fight doping more firmly and should try to attract large corporations as partners. Corporations like Nike.