Running News Daily is edited by Bob Anderson and team. Send your news items to email@example.com Get your race featured and exposed. Contact sales at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-209-4710
Articles tagged #Mary Cain
Today's Running News
Less than a week after runners Mary Cain and Kara Goucher accused their former Nike Oregon Project coach, Alberto Salazar, of mental and physical abuse, another woman has come out with her own allegations.
Amy Yoder Begley was an Indiana state-champion runner before joining the Nike team in 2007. Within months, she was targeted by Salazar for her weight, as Cain was. According to the New York Times, Salazar demanded she be leaner, tried to control her relationships with her teammates, and complained about her laugh being annoying.
Yoder Begley says Salazar frequently flip-flopped in his criticism of her. “If I had a bad workout on a Tuesday, he would tell me I looked flabby and send me to get weighed,” she said. “Then, three days later, I would have a great workout, and he would say how lean I looked and tell me my husband was a lucky guy. I mean, really? My body changed in three days?”
Salazar accused Yoder Begley of not following her nutrition plan and made other comments about her body. “He was obsessed with her butt,” Goucher told the Times. “He would always talk about how it was hanging out of her shorts.”
The allegations were also confirmed by Steve Magness, Salazar’s assistant coach from 2011 to 2012. “I remember Salazar saying something like, ‘Her ass was hanging out of her uniform,’” he recalled to Sports Illustrated. “In that moment, he added, ‘I’m done with you. I’m tired of fighting this weight issue. We’re done.’ Amy countered by saying she hadn’t gained any weight. Alberto said he didn’t care what her weight said. ‘I know you’ve gotten bigger.’ There was this conversation on if her jean sizes had gone up because her butt was bigger. It was the most bizarre thing ever.”
Cain made similar allegations against Salazar, saying he had pressured her to maintain an extremely low weight, which caused her to break several bones, stop getting her period, and develop disordered eating that led to suicidal thoughts. Salazar addressed the allegations in a statement to Sports Illustrated:
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.
Meanwhile, Nike has said an investigation into the accusations is underway.(11/15/2019) ⚡AMP
In response to Mary Cain's accusations of physical and emotional abuse against her former coach, Alberto Salazar has provided a statement to The Oregonian's Ken Goe refuting Cain's claims.
“Mary’s father is a medical doctor, and both of her parents were deeply involved in her training, competition and health throughout the period she was coached by me. For example, Mary’s father consulted on medications and supplements Mary used during her time at the NOP. Neither of her parents, nor Mary, raised any of the issues that she now suggests occurred while I was coaching her. To be clear, I never encouraged her, or worse yet, shamed her, to maintain an unhealthy weight.”
Salazar writes: “Mary at times struggled to find and maintain her ideal performance and training weight."
Salazar told Goe that the Nike Oregon Project did employ a nutritionist and sports psychologist, contrary to what Cain has asserted.
Salazar also shared a text message that Cain sent him in April of this year.
“Thanks again so much for a great trip -- I’m excited to be working together again and I really want this. Haha got back to a chilly morning in NY and even skipped class just to prioritize training and recovery since that’s my No. 1.”
In a tweet thread this morning, Cain discussed her decision to reach out to Salazar then.Nike released their own statement on the matter, calling Cain's allegations "deeply troubling," while also pointing out that Cain had shown interest in rejoining NOP in April. The brand said they will launch an immediate investigation
Just this week teenage super star Mary Cain said her career was ruined by Salazar and Nike. She was mentally abused by coach Salazar when she was part of the Nike Oregon Project. Nike knew what was going on.
Let’s not forget who Nike is. Phil Knight built Nike into the giant company it is today. He was running things day to day at Nike when the Oregon Project was started in 2001. I am sure he pushed coach Salazar to do whatever it took for their athletes to win races.
Phil Knight ran over a lot of people and companies as he built Nike. Today he is worth over 31 billion dollars and growing. Nike stock is trading near an all time high. I am sure their $250 racing shoes must be helping. A shoe that many feel should be ban. I am sure they did not have it tested or looked at by the world’s governing body (IAAF) before they released it. They just put it on the market. That’s the Phil Knight way. That’s the Salazar way.
I am not a fan of either men. Nor am I a fan of Nike. They tired to destroy my magazine Runner’s World in the early 80’s because I would not rate their shoe number one. This is another story I have told before.
That’s in the past and I have moved on. But things that have been going on more recently can’t be overlooked.
Nike’s power is overwhelming. They think they can do whatever they want. They are still even supporting Salazar, a long-time friend of Phil Knight. Yet Salazar has been banned for four years for doping violations. Should have been a lifetime ban.
How can we continue to turn our back on this? We can’t. We can’t just continue to buy their shoes, making Phil Knight and family even richer.
In response to Mary Cain’s allegations of forced weight loss and public shaming by former coach Alberto Salazar at a now-disbanded Nike-supported running program, Nike has started an investigation into the matter.
When asked for comment regarding Cain’s allegations Friday, a Nike spokesman issued the following statement: “These are deeply troubling allegations which have not been raised by Mary or her parents before. Mary was seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto’s team as recently as April of this year and had not raised these concerns as part of that process. We take the allegations extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes. At Nike, we seek to always put the athlete at the center of everything we do, and these allegations are completely inconsistent with our values.”
Cain’s also claimed that Nike needs to change because it “controls all the top coaches, athletes, races and even the governing body,” and there is a need for more women to be in charge.Nike response seems rather vague to me. What do you think we should do? Thanks Mary Cain for sharing your story. That was very brave.(11/08/2019) ⚡AMP
Mary Cain’s male coaches were convinced she had to get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner.” Then her body started breaking down.
At 17, Mary Cain was already a record-breaking phenom: the fastest girl in a generation.
While attending high school in Bronxville, New York, she set the high school freshman 1500-meter record of 4:17.84 in 2011. The teen went on to run 1:59.51 for 800 meters and 4:04.62 for 1500 meters outdoors, as well as 4:24:11 for one mile and 9:38.68 for two miles indoors, and set numerous high school records at the state and national level.
Then in August 2013, at age 17, she became the youngest runner in history to make the 1500-meter final at the IAAF World Championships, which she finished 10th in.
In 2013, she was signed by the best track team in the world, Nike’s Oregon Project, run by its star coach Alberto Salazar.
Then everything collapsed. Her fall was just as spectacular as her rise.
Instead of becoming a symbol of girls’ unlimited potential in sports, Cain became yet another standout young athlete who got beaten down by a win-at-all-costs culture. Girls like Cain become damaged goods and fade away. We rarely hear what happened to them. We move on.
The problem is so common it affected the only other female athlete featured in the last Nike video ad Cain appeared in, the figure skater Gracie Gold. When the ad came out in 2014, like Cain, Gold was a prodigy considered talented enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics. And, like Cain, Gold got caught in a system where she was compelled to become thinner and thinner. Gold developed disordered eating to the point of imagining taking her life.
Nike has come under fire in recent months for doping charges involving Salazar. He is now banned from the sport for four years, and his elite Nike team has been dismantled. In October, Nike’s chief executive resigned. (In an email, Salazar denied many of Cain’s claims, and said he had supported her health and welfare. Nike did not respond to a request for comment.)
The culture that created Salazar remains.
Kara Goucher, an Olympic distance runner who trained with the same program under Salazar until 2011, said she experienced a similar environment, with teammates weighed in front of one another.
“When you’re training in a program like this, you’re constantly reminded how lucky you are to be there, how anyone would want to be there, and it’s this weird feeling of, ‘Well, then, I can’t leave it. Who am I without it?’” Goucher said. “When someone proposes something you don’t want to do, whether it’s weight loss or drugs, you wonder, ‘Is this what it takes? Maybe it is, and I don’t want to have regrets.’ Your careers are so short. You are desperate. You want to capitalize on your career, but you’re not sure at what cost.”
She said that after being cooked meager meals by an assistant coach, she often had to eat more in the privacy of her condo room, nervous he would hear her open the wrappers of the energy bars she had there.
A big part of this problem is that women and girls are being forced to meet athletic standards that are based on how men and boys develop. If you try to make a girl fit a boy’s development timeline, her body is at risk of breaking down. That is what happened to Cain.
After months of dieting and frustration, Cain found herself choosing between training with the best team in the world, or potentially developing osteoporosis or even infertility. She lost her period for three years and broke five bones. She went from being a once-in-a-generation Olympic hopeful to having suicidal thoughts.
“America loves a good child prodigy story, and business is ready and waiting to exploit that story, especially when it comes to girls,” said Lauren Fleshman, who ran for Nike until 2012.
“When you have these kinds of good girls, girls who are good at following directions to the point of excelling, you’ll find a system that’s happy to take them. And it’s rife with abuse.”
We don’t typically hear from the casualties of these systems — the girls who tried to make their way in this system until their bodies broke down and they left the sport. It’s easier to focus on bright new stars, while forgetting about those who faded away. We fetishize the rising athletes, but we don’t protect them. And if they fail to pull off what we expect them to, we abandon them.
Mary Cain is 23, and her story certainly isn’t over. By speaking out, she’s making sure of that.(11/07/2019) ⚡AMP
Katelyn Tuohy added to her long list of impressive high school accomplishments by breaking Mary Cain’s high school 3,000m record on Saturday at the Dr. Sander Invitational in New York City.
Tuohy ran in her first professional field, taking down several pro and collegiate-level women to finish third in 9:01.81. Cain’s former record was held at 9:04.51.
On Instagram, Tuohy admitted she was just shy of her goal of sub-9:00, but that she “had a great time getting my feet wet and seeing what it’s like racing the big dogs! Today was a learning experience and I am so thankful for having this opportunity.” Brooks runner Amanda Eccleston took the win in 8:56.68, followed by Heather Kampf in 8:56.87. Canadian Danielle Jossinet of Guelph finished in a new personal best and U Sports second-place ranking of 9:19.93.
Cain achieved huge stardom as a high schooler for breaking many records and qualifying for the 2013 World Championships at only 17. Tuohy has also broken countless course records, and in the fall she became only the second woman to win two consecutive Nike Cross Nationals titles.(01/28/2019) ⚡AMP