A Mini Week That Was – Reactions From A Variety of Sources Around The Globe To the Alberto Salazar / Nike Oregon Project Doping Allegations
June 10, 2015
EUGENE, Ore. – With NCAAs starting today, we don’t have time to do a normal Week That Was. However, we’ll do a mini version below where we share the Email of the Week, Tweet of the Week, Message Board Posts of the Week and Picture Message of the Week.
Everything below is some sort of reaction from around the world to the allegations of wrongdoing by coach Alberto Salazar from seven former Nike Oregon Project members/associates as detailed by ProPublica’s David Epstein and the BBC’s Mark Daly (Epstein article here, BBC video here).
Previously we reported some of the initial reactions from pros on Twitter but below you will find reactions from a wider variety of people.
Email Of The Week From A Teenager in Ireland – “These revelations and accusations destroy all that is good about our beautiful sport”
As a nineteen year old distance runner I found today’s revelations disheartening to say the least. The sight of Galen Rupp competing and beating the top Africans has long provided me and many other young “western” athletes with hope, that with persistence, support and hard work it is possible to be competitive with the best in the world.
I remember the thrill I got from witnessing Rupp’s silver medal in 2012, I thought finally an athlete that proves it can be done.
I felt compelled to write to you as Letsrun seem to be one of the very few media outlets who still ask the difficult questions. I love athletics and everything about it, it is what I am most passionate about in life. These revelations and accusations destroy all that is good about our beautiful sport. It is a sport which is special because of extraordinary performances, what are we left with when we can no longer believe in the extraordinary?
Although it is beneficial that Salazar has been exposed, it remains a dark day for the sport I love and I fear things will get worse before they get better.
Keep the real values of our sport the priority, expose the cheats and keep asking the difficult questions.
Eoin Taggart, UCD student, Ireland
Tweet Of The Week
While Taggart was devastated by the allegations, former Nike athlete Nick Symmonds reacted in a more humorous way.
— Nick Symmonds (@NickSymmonds) June 6, 2015
Now everyone knows: printed books have a future. The Kindle won’t destroy all. When you need to send something overseas secretly, a hollowed-out book is the way to go.
Picture Message Of The Week
Keeping it humorous, we received the following picture from a LetsRun.com visitor who says he saw the following advertisement while watching SportsCenter.
Dumbest Response Of The Week – We Have A Tie (Athletics Canada and UK Athletics Get It Wrong)
In our mind, the initial responses by both Athletics Canada and UK Athletics were flat-out embarrassing. While everyone starts with the presumption of innocence, the fact that seven former Nike Oregon Project members/associates, including two Olympians, have gone to the anti-doping authorities as they have suspicions that everything Salazar has been doing isn’t necessarily kosher should make everyone at least pause and think further investigation is needed.
How anyone could read/watch the reporting and declare they have no concerns is beyond us.
Yet check out what Peter Eriksson, head coach of Canada’s track and field team, told CBCSports.ca when asked if he had any concerns about NOP team member Cam Levins being implicated in the scandal:
“He trains really hard. I don’t see him being at any risk.”
“The rumours have been going around for a while and they are not substantiated.”
“Our athletes are well tested a lot of different times of the year. It’s really hard to get away with anything.”
Note to Eriksson, no one ever said dopers don’t train hard and passing drug tests isn’t too hard – the BBC’s Mark Daly spent 20 minutes on the show showing that an untrained amateur can dope with EPO ordered off the Internet and not trigger the Biological Passport.
UK Athletics’ initial statement was equally naive:
“Whilst acknowledging the gravity of the allegations, UK Athletics can confirm it has had absolutely no concerns over the conduct and coaching methods of Alberto Salazar in relation to Mo Farah or in his role as an endurance consultant.”
Message Board Posts Of The Week
There were a ton of great responses to the allegations on the message board. We’ve picked a few that we thought made some good points:
“Shoebacca” wrote that he found Magness to be incredibly believable:
I’m 100% supportive of Magness. Here is a young guy who got his dream job with Salazar and left disillusioned. He’s been 100% transparent from the start. He’s made it his life to study the sport and optimize performance. He’d do hill repeats and stick a needle in his leg to test lactate. He wrote about it. He did everything within legal scientific limit to learn about running. He was a perfect match to work with Salazar except for one thing: Magness cares about the spirit of the law and not just the law itself. This guy walked away from the #1 coach in the world and his dream to quietly blog about science and carry out the rest of his days coaching B caliber athletes honestly.
“Zat0pek” made some great points in responding to “perry mason’s daughter-in-law” who claimed Rupp was clearly innocent simply because Rupp has never tested positive
perry mason’s daughter-in-law wrote:
If I remember right, Rupp was drug tested over 20 times last year and came up clean on all counts. This smells of fishy slandor to me. Could very well end up in court if someones name/reputation is shat upon just to prop up low tele ratings and all.
How much longer are people going to keep perpetuating the myth that “never failed a drug test” means ANYTHING? It means nothing. Less than nothing, if that’s possible.
Two quick examples: Lance Armstrong never failed a test. Marion Jones passed 162 tests during the time she was taking EPO, HGH and a designer steroid.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Bob Williams Defends
In terms of doping scandals, while we think it’s always important to remember that the “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” it’s also important to realize that the case against Salazar is based on several allegations — allegations that one former NOP assistant Bob Williams found to be not believable. When asked if he ever saw doping within the group, Williams told The Oregonian:
“Absolutely not, and we were privy to everything as coaches.”
Of course a much more prominent former NOP assistant John Cook told Runner’s World he was “not surprised” by the allegations and added:
“I follow the sport without particularly much fervour or excitement because I know too much. When I was naive, I liked it a lot more. I’ve been turned off pretty much.
“The average fan remains ignorant in terms of it wanting it be Chariots of Fire. They think if [athletes] test negative, they’re as clean as white snow. That’s the great paradox of the whole charade.”
Two more prominent NOP assistants than Williams — Steve Magness and John Cook — certainly have implied they weren’t privy to everything.
The key point from all of this is much more investigating needs to be done. If Nike cared about clean sport it would have an independent investigation done. We don’t see how anyone who watched the report or read the ProPublica story can say they have “no concerns”. The proper response should be is “this is very concerning” and “I want to find out the truth.” The truth may clear Alberto Salazar but we need it come out first.
Quotes Of The Day And Last Week’s Home Pages
To see the actual quotes of the day from last week or last week’s home page or any home page, go to our archive page.