LONDON (AP) — Long-distance running coach Alberto Salazar’s former assistant is among those accusing the American of violating anti-doping rules and encouraging doping by one of his top runners, Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp.
In a story Wednesday by ProPublica and BBC (http://bbc.in/1FudipG), former Salazar assistant Steve Magness accused Salazar of using doping practices for his athletes at the Nike Oregon Project.
The story quoted both Salazar and Rupp as denying any wrongdoing. Neither Salazar nor Rupp’s agent, Ricky Simms, immediately responded to emails from The Associated Press.
Rupp won the silver medal in the 10,000 meters at the London Games, finishing behind another of Salazar’s leading runners, Mo Farah of Britain. The story said no doping accusations have been made against Farah.
Salazar is considered America’s most powerful running coach. He built his reputation as a coach after winning the New York Marathon three years in a row from 1980-82 and the Boston Marathon in 1982.
While none of the Nike Oregon Project athletes have failed a drug test, ProPublica and the BBC reported allegations that some of Salazar’s methods included the use of banned steroids and unethical practices.
The story said U.S. Olympic distance runner Kara Goucher and at least six other former Salazar athletes and staff members have gone to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with their concerns. It said USADA has not confirmed or denied any investigations.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart did not return a telephone message left by The Associated Press.
UK Anti-Doping, the body responsible for ensuring compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code in the UK, said in a statement that “the news tonight reflects the challenge we face to ensure athletes and sports events … are protected from doping. Exposing doping athletes and their support network is a responsibility that rests with everyone involved in sport.”
The report states Rupp had been given testosterone in 2002, when he was 16. It interviewed Magness, who worked at the Oregon project in 2011. Magness said he saw a document showing Rupp’s blood levels that showed he was on “testosterone medication.”
“When I saw that, I kind of jumped backwards,” Magness told the BBC. “Testosterone is obviously banned. … Everybody knew that. When I looked a little further I saw it was all the way back in high school — and that was incredibly shocking.”
Magness said when he questioned Salazar about the document, the coach said it had been a mistake. Magness did not respond to an email from AP.
Salazar declined to be interviewed for the program, but told the BBC in a statement the legal nutritional supplement Testoboost had been incorrectly recorded in the document as “testosterone medication.”
He added that the “allegations your sources are making are based upon false assumptions and half-truths in an attempt to further their personal agendas.”
Rupp denied ever using testosterone or testosterone medication.
“I am completely against the use of performance enhancing drugs,” he told the BBC. “I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance.”
The program aired claims that testosterone was seen on several occasions by athletes and staff, including a massage therapist at an altitude training camp in Utah in 2008. The therapist was reportedly told by Salazar the testosterone was for his own use for treatment of a heart condition.
The BBC also alleged that Salazar tested testosterone cream on a human to find out how much it would take to trigger a positive drug test.
“I believe in a clean sport and a methodical, dedicated approach to training and have never, nor ever will, endorse the use of banned substances with any of my athletes,” he told the BBC in a statement.
The program also aired allegations about the alleged use of asthma and thyroid medication for enhancing performance.