Alberto Salazar, during a career in which he accompanied Mo Farah in the 2015 Diamond League. Photo EFE

The American long distance runner Mary Cain, whose career failed after what he defined as four miserable years in the Nike Oregon Project, filed a lawsuit for $ 20 million against his former coach, Alberto salazar, and his employer, Nike.

Specifically, the 25-year-old athlete accused Salazar of emotionally abuse from her when she joined the team in 2012, when she was 16 years old. According to the lawsuit, Salazar was obsessed with weight of Cain and the publicly humiliated therefore, which affected both his physical and mental health.

For their part, Nike was aware of the situation, although they did not intervene. Long ago, the American company denied the abuse allegations and said that neither Cain nor her parents expressed concerns while she was part of the program.

In the lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Cain alleges that Salazar repeatedly asked him to put himself on a scale in front of others, and then criticize it.

In addition, the trainee would have strictly monitored food intake of the athlete, who was so hungry that she stole energy bars from her teammates.

Alberto Salazar, during a career in which he accompanied Mo Farah in the 2015 Diamond League. Photo EFE

So Cain turned to his parents for support. For 2019, he stated that was depressed, had an eating disorder, generalized anxiety, and was cutting.

Also, according to his account, for three years missed your menstrual period because of all that to push her body to limits that she was not prepared to bear. Even more: broke five bones.

“I felt scared, alone and trapped. I started to have suicidal thoughts, I started to cut, “he said in a video he sent to the New York Times two years ago.

The title of the article published in the American newspaper is eloquent: “I was the fastest girl in America, until I signed with Nike“It is no wonder. At 16, she was breaking records. At 17 she was already a world finalist in 1,500 meters and at 18 she was junior world champion in 3,000.

In 2019, a month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused Salazar of three doping cases, the Nike Oregon Project, which had been created to train American distance runners, was dissolved. For his part, Salazar was banned from sport for four years.

Last month, the court upheld the coach’s suspension, because he had had an “intentional plan” and orchestrated with the sole objective of “misleading” anti-doping investigators when he tampered with the evidence.

His account to the New York Times

“He was the most famous coach in the world and he told me that I was the most incredible athlete he had ever seen,” Cain recounted. His emotion was not surprising: Salazar was the goldsmith of talents such as Mo Farah, quadruple Olympic champion and sixfold world champion.

“I joined because I wanted to be the best woman ever,” Mary said, looking at the camera. emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike. “The woman assured that they were trying to convince her that to be better, she had to be more, and more, and skinnier.

After a race, one rainy afternoon, he told them how he had been autoflagelando: they sent her to sleep. There he got tired. “It was the moment that I realized that this system was sick.”

Mary Cain. Foto

Mary Cain. Foto

“I was no longer trying to get to the Olympics. I was trying to survive“, said the young woman, who resigned from the team. Of course, having said nothing at the time, and having performed well below what was expected of her, no one was surprised that Mary left the team. From the outside, it seemed hardly the case of a girl who had not lived up to the expectations that she knew how to awaken.

“They are not being aware that there are girls whose bodies are being ruined by a abusive system. That system must change. Nike must change. You cannot delete a program and take a person out and expect everything to change, “he warned.

With information from EFE.


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