By Ken Reed
Thanks largely to the courage of popular female long distance runner, Kara Goucher, legendary track coach and former marathon champion Alberto Salazar has been banned for four years by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The USADA found that Salazar, the long-time head track coach for the famous Nike Oregon Project, trafficked in performance-enhancing drugs and tried to tamper with doping controls.
“The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart.
“While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown (Salazar’s colleague, a former consultant with Nike) demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect.”
The allegations against Salazar go back nearly a decade. Records in this case revealed Salazar was even communicating with now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in 2011. He sent Armstrong an email encouraging him to infuse L-carnitine in amounts far exceeding doping rules.
Kara Goucher will now be almost as famous for being a whistleblowing anti-doping warrior as she is for being a two-time Olympic athlete.
“For me personally, I feel like I am making a difference for the future of the sport I love so much,” said Goucher in an interview with League of Fans.
“And letting it go public and not having to carry around that secret anymore freed me. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it would help in the future. It would be much easier to stay silent and move on. I have a lot of other great things in my life besides competitive running and if I didn’t truly believe I’m helping others, I would have just stayed quiet and moved on to the other loves of my life.”
Today’s distance runners, those in the future, and everyone who wants sport to be clean, should be thankful that Goucher found the courage to standup against illegal doping in athletics.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
A League of Fans Special Report