Durch die Suspendierung von Chefcoach Alberto Salazar ist das „NIKE Oregon Project“, in dem neben Superstars wie Mo Farah oder Galen Rupp aktuell auch Konstanze Klosterhalfen und Sifan Hassan trainierten/trainieren, endgültig in die Schlagzeilen geraten. War es vor längerer Zeit bereits Kara Goucher, die sich zu jeder Gelegenheit mit harscher Kritik gegenüber NOP äußerte, so ist es nun das ehemalige Super-Talent Mary Cain, die bei der „New York Times“ auspackt.
Wie jede Sache hat auch dieser Skandal sicher zwei Seiten, hier die Schilderungen aus der Warte eines Opfers, die betroffen machen. Inwieweit diese Ereignisse der Reputation des Megakonzerns aus Beaverton, der aktuell viel lieber mit seinen Wunderschuhen (und den grandiosen Geschäften) im Gespräch sein will, zusetzen, bleibt abzuwarten. Es ist nicht auszuschließen, dass am Ende vor allem die Leichtathletik als eigentlicher Verlierer der unlauteren Machenschaften unter den Fittichen eines mächtigen Konzerns dasteht.
Und hier die Stellungsnahme dazu von Coach Alberto Salazar:
„My foremost goal as a coach was to promote athletic performance in a manner that supported the good health and well-being of all my athletes. On occasion, I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training. If any athlete was hurt by any comments that I have made, such an effect was entirely unintended, and I am sorry. I do dispute, however, the notion that any athlete suffered any abuse or gender discrimination while running for the Oregon Project.
Because runner weight is inherently tied to performance for elite runners, I saw it as part of my job as an endurance sport coach to help the team’s runners understand the impact weight has on performance. I had a lot of frank discussions about weight with all of my athletes—both women and men. That’s part of elite sport. Maybe that needs to change. Indeed, I have always treated men and women similarly in this regard—to treat my female athletes differently I believe would not be in their personal interests or in the interests of promoting their best athletic performance. I did not know and was never told by Mary, her parents, or any athlete—male or female—that the discussion of weight was abusive.
At no point did I have a policy or practice of requiring female athletes to lose weight. Instead, I have discussed with all of my athletes, both women and men, what their target training weight and performance weight should be to attain peak performance while maintaining an overall good well-being. For some athletes, both women and men, their target training weight and performance weight were either below or above the weight at which they entered the program.
Moreover, these discussions about training weight and performance weight frequently included significant persons in the athletes’ lives For example, Mary Cain’s father who is a trained physician, Dr. Charles Cain, was copied on emails to her regarding her training and nutrition.
Furthermore, I have always ensured that my athletes, both women and men, have available to them resources, such as dietitians, nutritionists and others, to help them achieve or maintain any training weight or performance weight in a healthy and appropriate manner. This included, among others and at various times, Dr. Krista Austin (an exercise physiologist and nutritionist with a PhD in exercise physiology & sports nutrition), Dr. Renée Pirkl (a licensed psychologist), and Ruth Carey (a registered dietitian and board certified specialist in sports dietetics).
These discussions and exchanges were always meant to help these athletes reach their goals of being the best in the world which is a difficult and often unattainable goal. It was my job to help them get there and that meant a lot of sacrifice and discipline both on the track and off. This is not to say that coaching at the elite level doesn’t need to evolve. While I disagree with what Mary has said publicly about her treatment by Oregon Project coaches and staff, her underlying message that elite coaching needs more women is a good one.“
(c) „Sports Illustrated“