Canadian 5,000m runner Cam Levins has spoken out in defense of Alberto Salazar, the coach who has been accused of encouraging athletes to dope. The Canadian 5,000m runner, who joined the group of Salazar in 2013, added his coach was “completely trustworthy”.
Speaking at the Portland Track Festival, Levins said the Nike Oregon Project coach, had never pushed him into grey areas while he has trained with him. The Canadian runner said Alberto and Galen have been very trustworthy and they have never given me any reason not to trust them. It was added by Levins that he does not take any thyroid medication and he doesn’t know of anyone besides Galen who takes it within the group.
Young American middle distance star Shannon Rowbury, who trains alongside Mo Farah at the Nike Oregon Project, denied doping allegations and remarked any accusations of doping against her were “slanderous”. Rowbury further commented she had ever seen anything that would make me question Salazar or her teammates. Rowbury added she knew Alberto and Galen are doing whatever they can to dispute these allegations and to prove them wrong and she trusts them to do that. The American middle distance star also said the coach had not asked her to get a Therapeutic Use Exemption Certificate for any substance and had not put her on an inhaler. She went on to add that her eyes on her goals which are to make the US team, to make the World podium and most importantly of the all, the Olympic podium.
Salazar came under criticism after it was claimed by BBC’s Panorama that he had given Testosterone, the banned steroid, to his athlete Galen Rupp when he was 16. Alberto Salazar was also accused of violating other anti-doping rules and has been accused of supplying/trafficking performance enhancing drugs. Steve Magness, a former coach at Nike’s Oregon Project, claimed that he had seen a document on the desk of Salazar that suggested Glen Rupp had been taking Testosterone since he was 16. It was further claimed by Magness that Alex, the son of Alberto, used to mock laboratory tests to find out how much testosterone he would have to rub on the body before it showed up a positive in a drug test.
Rupp has been accused of taking Prednisone, the asthma drug banned in competition. It was claimed by Magness that Rupp took the drug even after he was unable to procure a therapeutic use exemption for the asthma drug. It was alleged by Kara and Adam Goucher, former Nike Oregon Project runners, that Salazar had coached Rupp to try and get intravenous drips ahead of races to possibly mask banned substances.
Salazar is not new to doping accusations. In 1996, he coached American Mary Decker when she tested positive for high testosterone levels. In 1999, he gave a speech to the Duke University Law Review where he said it is presently difficult to be among the elite top five in the world in any of the distance levels without using human growth hormone or EPO (erythropoietin).
In his defense, Salazar is expected to release a series of emails, documents, and witness testimonies to support his case in the next few days.