October 2, 2019
DOHA, Qatar — Four-time world and Olympic medallist and 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson got her World Championships underway today and she cruised into the semifinals of the women’s 1500 meters by winning heat #3 in 4:07.27.
Then in the mixed zone, she unloaded on former Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, who received a four-year anti-doping ban from the sport yesterday. Salazar is/was the coach of the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, who earlier won the 10,000m at these championships and is attempting to pull off the unprecedented 10,000m/1,500m double.
When Simpson was asked what she thought of Salazar’s ban, she said, “Get him out. If you cheat, you get banned. I’m a believer in lifetime bans. I wish it was longer. Don’t cheat.”
Simpson was just getting warmed up. When asked what her thoughts of Salazar were before the ban, she said, “Anybody who knows any[thing] about this sport knows there is a black shadow, a black cloud, whatever the analogy you want to make, over that group. Why anyone chooses to be a part of that group, I have no idea. Anyone that is shocked isn’t involved in the sport.”
When asked if she was skeptical of people’s performances in the group, she said, “I don’t think you can be that closely affiliated with anyone and not have people point fingers and I don’t feel sorry for you if you’re closely affiliated with somebody that has a four-year ban and you’re there, but I’m not going to be the judge and jury of specifically which athletes are cheating and which aren’t. I’m going to let USADA and WADA judge that.”
Then when asked if she could understand how an athlete could join the NOP and not know what was going on, Simpson said, “I don’t know. I would never make that choice. That choice is the same as when I was choosing where to go as it is today. I’m not going to be the judge and jury of who is cheating but if you’re closely affiliated with somebody who is serving a four-year ban and someone points a finger at you and says ‘maybe you’re cheating,’ I don’t feel sorry for you. Maybe you are cheating. I don’t know.”
Full post-race comments with Simpson below, set to start with her comments on Alberto Salazar.
Sifan Hassan declined to speak to the media after her race.