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Articles tagged #Mary Cain
Today's Running News
Two easy arm swing stretches to waken your shoulders after hours hunched over computers and phones.
Chances are, as you’re reading this, you’re sitting, hunched forward over a computer or phone. That’s part of modern life, even in “normal” times. Today, with all of our conversations, meetings, work, entertainment, parties and more conducted online it is even worse; we rarely look up and step away.
And that’s a problem. “I’m realizing I feel awful, because I’m not moving except for runs and a couple walks here and there,” Mary Cain told Jen Ator of Women’s Running last week. We need movement, and, in this abnormal context, we need to take active measures to ensure we give our bodies chances to open up to the range of motion they would have in the outdoor, physical, diverse context they are supposed to be in.
With that in mind, we would all do well to adopt a plan to activate our bodies with regularly scheduled, strategic drills and stretches to counteract what sitting is doing to our posture and mobility. These are exercises we should be doing anyway, and stay-at-home regulations provide both an incentive and a new context where we might be able to do them more comfortably.
Shoulders, Pivotal But Overlooked
Some days I’m more disciplined than others when it comes to an all-day mobility routine, but I’m finding that, more than ever, I need to at least open my shoulders and get myself upright before I can run comfortably.
Shoulders are too often overlooked by runners. You wouldn’t think that they’d be that important, compared to legs that support and power us, or even arms that drive. But shoulders are for the arms what hips are for the legs, pivotal connection points, and they too get compromised in our current environment.
“Everything we do is forward,” says Laura Bergman, rehabilitation specialist and owner of Fascia Lines clinic in Winchester, Va. “If we look at life as a workout, we’re doing a whole bunch of forward exercises, so that muscles get really short in the forward position.” Our shoulders get rotated so far forward that we can’t comfortably swing our arms backwards.
“You try to have an arm swing, and you can’t because your shoulder can’t go back,” says Bergman. So your arms end up staying in front, reaching forward or rotating and moving across the front of your body. When your arms stay forward, your weight stays forward, your leg swing has to come forward to support you, you tend to bend at the waist, and because your hips are unnaturally rotated, you can’t drive your leg back for an effective push off. To get your elbows back consistently may require some release and retraining to create the necessary range of motion and postural endurance.
Shoulder Swings To Do Now, Before Every Run
Even if you’re not ready to invest the time for more robust shoulder intervention, every runner can benefit from doing dynamic warm-up moves before every run. Physios Jim and Phil Wharton recommend two arm swing stretches to cue an upright posture, get shoulders back, and activate the muscles that will keep them there.
During years as a cross-country coach, these were the first things our squads did every day, transitioning young runners from they day spent over desks and books. I still find them particularly effective and important now as I uncrumple myself from hours hunched over my computer screen and phone to prepare to run tall.
Start with a series of open-arm swings designed to stretch the muscles in the chest and shoulders using the opposing muscles between your shoulder blades.
Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart.
With arms straight, bring your hands together in front of you at about waist height.
Open your arms and swing them back as far as they can go, contracting the muscles in the middle of your upper back so that it brings your shoulder blades together.
Swing your arms forward and repeat, raising them slightly every time until you reach shoulder height.
Drop your arms back to the starting position, at waist height, and work up the body a second time.
Second, do a series of arm swings that stretch the front of your upper arms and shoulders while working the muscles on the backside, similar to the running motion.
Start standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart and hands comfortably by your sides.
Swing your arms straight back, keeping your elbows locked and palms facing each other. Keep your shoulders low and relaxed.
After a few swings to open up, touch your fingertips together at the back of the stretch or gently interlace them.
Keeping your elbows locked straight, gently raise your hands slightly while pulling your shoulders back and down, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Hold for 2 seconds and release. Do 10 reps.
Shoulders activated, reach up to the sky and stretch to your full height, then drop your arms down and back while keeping your posture tall—and run lightly and efficiently down the street.(05/23/2020) ⚡AMP
Tracksmith, the independent running apparel brand out of Boston, announced its newest pair of partner athletes: Mary Cain and Nick Willis. This is not a traditional partnership, though, as Cain and Willis will both be working as full-time employees for the company in addition to running for the brand.
The duo will represent Tracksmith as they both work toward the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are set for July 2021, and they will do it as amateurs, a term that Tracksmith is looking to reclaim for everyone who loves to run.
In a post entitled “For the love” on the Tracksmith website announcing the brand’s newest partnership, founder and CEO Matt Taylor talks about the word “amateur,” which comes from Latin roots meaning “to love” and “I love.”
Taylor says “amateur” only recently became a term for non-professionals (around the 19th century or so), and now the team at Tracksmith wants to take the term back to its roots and refer to anyone who loves to run as “amateurs.”
In sports, athlete sponsorships are always dictated by results, and the better an athlete performs, the stronger their brand partnerships become. On the other hand, if their results start to decline, it’s not uncommon to see these relationships deteriorate and disappear.
This won’t be the case for Cain and Willis, because, working as Tracksmith employees and representing the brand as amateurs, they will have “the freedom to participate in the sport with no expectations or pressures outside of the ones they place on themselves.”
Cain made international headlines in November when she told the New York Times about the abuse she sustained while running with the Nike Oregon Project (NOP) under now-banned coach Alberto Salazar. Cain won gold in the 3,000m at the the world junior championships in 2014 before leaving the NOP a year later. In 2020, she returned to racing for the first time since 2016, and she is now working toward making her first U.S. Olympic team.
Cain’s official role at Tracksmith is New York community manager, and she will help grow the company’s “on-the-ground and virtual efforts in one of the most vibrant running scenes in the world.”
Willis, who’s 37 years old, tweeted he was leaving Adidas on Sunday, and there was some speculation that he might be retiring. Today, he tweeted again, saying, “I’m not retiring; I’m turning amateur.” Willis is a two-time Olympic medallist for New Zealand, having won silver in the 1,500m in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in the same event eight years later in Rio.
Willis is quoted on the Tracksmith site, saying, “It may sound counterintuitive, but I always discovered that my running career thrived the most when I embraced more. My best years, my fastest times, all emerged from times in my life when my running came, well, second.”
He’ll be looking to qualify for his fourth Olympics in 2021 while working as the athlete experience manager at Tracksmith, building programs to “inspire, motivate and deepen our community’s connection to the sport.”(05/13/2020) ⚡AMP
After Mary Cain alleged emotional abuse as an athlete under Alberto Salazar’s coaching, Nike conducted an internal probe of the professional running group.
Nike said on Monday that it is planning to take multiple actions to better support its female professional athletes, following an internal investigation into the now-defunct professional running group, the Oregon Project.
The company started the probe in November after former Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain went public with a New York Times op-ed piece about her experiences as a young track star under coach Alberto Salazar, who is currently serving a four-year ban from the sport for doping violations. (Salazar denies the charges and is appealing them—Nike said in an email to Women’s Running on Monday that “we support Alberto in his decision to appeal and wish him the full measure of due process that the rules require.”)
Cain joined the Oregon Project as a teen phenom, foregoing NCAA eligibility in 2013 to sign a pro contract with Nike. She moved from Bronxville, New York, to Portland, Oregon, at age 17, as a national high school record holder—the youngest athlete to ever represent the U.S. in a world-championships competition, where she raced the 1500 meters.
In the documentary, titled “I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike,” she described the pressure that Salazar and the all-male Oregon Project staff put on her to become thinner in order to perform better. Cain said she was weighed in front of her teammates and publicly shamed by Salazar for not hitting the goals he demanded—allegations that were later corroborated by former members of the group.
Now 23 years old, Cain said while training with the Oregon Project and during a period afterward, she suffered five stress fractures and didn’t menstruate for three years, which are symptoms of RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport), a syndrome of insufficient caloric intake, with symptoms that can include excessive fatigue, amenorrhea, and decreased bone density. It can have serious long-term health effects like cardiovascular disease, infertility, and osteoporosis. Before she left Oregon to return home in 2015, she said she felt so isolated and trapped that she had suicidal thoughts and cut herself.
After the New York Times piece was published, Salazar denied any abuse or gender discrimination at the Oregon Project and added, “I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training.”
In the email to Women’s Running on Monday, Nike said the results of the internal investigation will not be made public, but “we are using the findings to identify areas where we can do better in supporting female athletes.” It was not confirmed who was involved in leading the investigation or who participated in it.
The initiatives that Nike identified include:
• Investing in scientific research into the impact of elite athlete training of girls and women
• Increasing the number of women coaches in sports
• Hiring a vice president of global women’s sports marketing in the coming weeks to have “strategic oversight” of Nike’s female athletes
• Creating an athlete think tank to help the company understand the opportunities and challenges faced by female athletes
• Partnering with Crisis Text Line, a free, confidential text messaging service for people to ask for help when in crisis
During a phone interview with Women’s Running on Monday, Cain said she was contacted in the fall by phone and email by a Nike lawyer, but opted not to participate in the probe because some of the people involved were Nike employees whose participation in it made her feel uncomfortable.
“There was no real transparency in the process, so I became very frustrated with the fact that there was no clear-cut person in charge, it was Nike investigating Nike, and seemingly some of the people involved in the process were investigating themselves,” she said.
Upon hearing the actions that Nike—the biggest sponsor of the sport’s governing body, U.S.A. Track & Field (a deal that goes through 2040 with an estimated value of $500 million)—wants to take as a result of the findings, Cain said she supports anything that promotes women’s health and opportunities in sports.
“It’s great to push money and push opportunity into the future—I whole-heartedly support that,” she said. “But the vagueness and no ability to see the report makes me worried that they’re hiding behind gestures that will almost make people forget the issues.”
Runners and other athletes have identified with Cain’s experiences since she shared them, creating a public conversation about the destructive culture underlying sports, where antiquated training philosophies perpetuated by a male-dominated coaching profession often result in eating disorders and worse for athletes.
“I have this renewed love of the sport that I only really found in the last few months because I do have so much hope in what women’s sports can and will become—so anything that’s generating interest and investment and research, I’m all for,” Cain said. “What I hope can happen through some of this work is that Nike can start hearing more voices.”
Still, Cain is hesitant to put too much stock in the proposed initiatives.
“It looks both weak and cowardly that as a corporation they won’t release what they found,” she said. “There’s a certain point where people would have a lot more respect for them as a broader institution and respect what they’re now trying to do if they also admitted what they did wrong. I can’t look at a future brightly if I can’t see them reflecting on their past.”
Since November, Cain has returned to training after about three years away, with the goal of making the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in June. She most recently raced the 3,000 meters on Saturday at the Armory in New York, finishing in 9:24.38.
In December, she told Women’s Running that advocating for women’s sports and healthy coaching practices is her new dream.
“Due to lack of education and inappropriate societal norms, many people have a poor understanding of how to address topics such as women’s cycles, weight, and training appropriately,” Cain said. “My goal is now to create educational programs that coaches and athletes must take on these subjects.”(02/02/2020) ⚡AMP
In a Women’s Running story, journalist Erin Strout says Nike has completed the internal investigation it committed to in the wake of Mary Cain’s explosive New York Times video.
And while it won’t be making its findings public, it did identify and share some specific initiatives relating to its professional female athletes.
Cain’s video exposed unethical coaching practices at the Nike Oregon Project, which was shut down 10 days after USADA served head coach Alberto Salazar with a four-year ban for doping violations on September 30, 2019–practices that included body- and weight-shaming, public weigh-ins and criticism that severely damaged Cain’s physical and mental health and led to her quietly leaving the NOP in 2015. Cain disappeared from the competition circuit, but is now working her way back into the scene under a new coach, while advocating publicly for women athletes.
The iniatives Strout listed include: 1.- Studying how elite training affects female athletes, 2.- Hiring more female coaches, 3.- Creating a new senior-level position to oversee international women’s sports marketing, 4.- Creating a group of pro female athletes to inform and advise the company on concerns specific to its female athletes, 5.- A new partnership with CrisisTextLine, a confidential, free text message service for people in crisis (in Canada, the service is run by Kids Help Phone).
Strout reports that Cain was invited to participate in the investigation but declined, telling her she perceived a lack of transparency. Regarding the initiatives announced, Cain said she “supports anything that promotes women’s health and opportunities in sports,” but was critical of the decision not to share the results of the investigation publicly, calling it “weak and cowardly.”
After an absence of more than three years, Cain recently started racing again. She had a disappointing 3,000m race at the Dr. Sander Invitational in New York on the weekend, but acknowledged in a post-race interview that regaining competitiveness will take time and incremental improvement.(01/28/2020) ⚡AMP
Thursday night at the NYRR Night at the Races #2 at the Armory, Cain, running in heat 2 of the men’s 3,000m race, finished in 10th place in 9:25.50 to finish her first track race since she placed 2nd in the 1500 at the NACAC Under-23 Championships on July 15, 2016.
Mary Cain, 23, wearing a nondescript yellow outfit, went out conservatively. She was in last place on the first lap, hit 1600 in 5:00.5 and would slow slightly over the second half, but move up through the field.
Believe it or not, Cain wasn’t the only former world junior champion in her race. The West Side Runners’ Nuhamin Bogale, who won the 2010 world junior 1500m title for Ethiopia as Tizita Bogale and has a 4:03 pb, is also trying to come back from injury and raced the men like Cain. Bogale, 26, and Cain were close through the mile, then Bogale began to pull away from Cain and Bogale finished in 9:19.78.
Afterwards we spoke to Cain, who was all smiles. Cain compared the experience to a “middle school race” because she spent much of it in lane 2 passing other runners. Cain was glad to be back finishing a track race and she said she had to start somewhere and the plan is to try and improve each time out. Cain said she has just started with track workouts and the fastest 800 she has done was in her 3,000 tonight. She and her coach John Henwood would not commit to a distance for Mary and said they’ll see how her training and racing goes.
On Monday, the day that the sportswear giant Nike reopened the Beaverton, Ore. headquarters building named after disgraced coach Alberto Salazar, Nike employees staged a protest regarding its mistreatment of women, and were threatened with termination if they spoke to the media.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, “A flier circulating among employees read, “Join us for a campus walk to celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees.”
There was another flier circulating ahead of the protest–this one was also distributed by Nike employees but had a different tone. It read, “No employee is permitted to speak to news media on any NIKE-related matter either on- or off-the-record, without prior approval from Nike Global Communications.” The policy continues, “Failure to comply with NIKE’s media policy could result in termination of employment.”
Nike spokesperson Greg Rossiter said to The Willamette Weekly that this cautionary flyer was not officially distributed by the company. “We respect and welcome employees’ feedback on matters that are important to them. The flier prepared by some employees was not officially distributed by Nike.”
The US Anti-Doping Agency banned Salazar in September for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case. The details appear in a BBC report and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the Nike Oregon Project’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters. Salazar is former coach to Mo Farah and Kara Goucher and current coach of marathoner Galen Rupp and the newly-crowned 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, among others.
Nike shut down the NOP training group 11 days later. Salazar’s athletes have since found new coaches and training groups.
Following the dissolution of the NOP, American prodigy Mary Cain came forward and told her story about her experience with the group. According to Cain, the NOP’s “win at all costs” mentality involved Salazar and his assistant coaches (who are not named) pushing her to take birth control pills and diuretics to lose weight, weighing her and verbally abusing her in front of her teammates. Cain’s success on the track came at a huge price: she didn’t have her period for three years, which weakened her bone health so much that she endured five stress fractures. Her success dwindled, and when she left the program, nobody really knew why.
On Monday, protesters signs read, “We believe Mary.”(12/10/2019) ⚡AMP
Jordan Hasay went into the Chicago Marathon on October 13 in excellent shape, hoping to make a run at the American record in the distance. But about two miles into the race, she tore her left hamstring. She limped past the 5K mark in 22 minutes before dropping out of the race.It was the bitter end of a tumultuous two weeks.
On September 30, her longtime coach, Alberto Salazar, was hit with a four-year ban from track and field for anti-doping violations. Hasay, 28, said she never witnessed anything improper in her time with Salazar and his team, the Nike Oregon Project. On October 11, Nike shut down the Oregon Project, leaving the athletes who had trained with Salazar to work out new coaching and training situations.
The timing of Hasay’s injury and the coaching upheaval were not ideal: American marathoners are preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
The upheaval has continued this month: On November 7, in an explosive opinion video in The New York Times, Mary Cain, a former teen prodigy who trained with Hasay and others at the Oregon Project, alleged she was “emotionally and physically abused” in her time with Salazar.
On a recent trip to Monaco, she formalized a relationship with Radcliffe to be her “mentor-coach.” Radcliffe held the world record in the women’s marathon, 2:15:25, for 16 years. The record fell last month to Brigid Kosgei, who ran 2:14:04, at the Chicago Marathon, where Hasay dropped out.
Hasay has long admired Radcliffe. As Hasay was training for her first marathon, Boston in 2017, her late mother used to call Hasay by the pet name “Paula.” Radcliffe and Hasay first met at the 2017 Chicago Marathon, where Hasay ran 2:20:57 and became the second-fastest American marathoner behind Deena Kastor. Hasay and Radcliffe have kept in touch since then.
Last week, together in Monaco, they sat down and mapped out Hasay’s training for the next 15 weeks until the Trials. Hasay said she believes she’s the first athlete to be coached by Radcliffe and specified that Radcliffe, and not her husband, Gary Lough, who oversees the training of Mo Farah, will be in charge.
Hasay will stay in California and communicate remotely with Radcliffe. “I’ve always really looked up to her as a role model,” Hasay said. “Since we first met two years ago in Chicago, we’ve kept in touch and she’s given me a lot of advice. She knows that I have had some very good coaches in the past. We’re not going to go in and change a bunch of things. At this point, I mainly need someone to hold me back and make sure I stay injury free. She’s such a kind person.”
After two weeks off from running after the Chicago Marathon, Hasay has returned to running almost pain free, she said, although the hamstring feels tight at faster speeds. On November 19, she did a hill workout.
Hasay said Nike staff were “incredibly supportive” of her as she considered new coaches, and they were open to her having a coach who didn’t have a relationship with the company if that is what she wanted. Radcliffe, though, was a Nike-sponsored athlete throughout her career and maintains a relationship with the company.
She is in the process of selling her home in Beaverton, Oregon, near Nike headquarters, and she will live with her father in Arroyo Grande, California, until she eventually buys a home in that area. She is more suited to the climate there, she said, where it is sunny and warm year-round, than the rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest. She also said the community has supported her since she began running at age 12. Being home “will add a lot of happiness,” she said.
When asked about Cain, Hasay said she knew her teammate was struggling during her 10 months training in Portland with the Oregon Project, but she didn’t know the extent of the problems.
“I was pretty shocked with the video,” Hasay said. “Obviously I feel really sad and I texted her and said I’m really sorry. That if I knew that it was that bad, if there was anything I could have done, I just apologize.”
Hasay said she and Cain were fairly close but she had “no idea” that Cain was cutting herself, as she said in the Times video. Cain also said Salazar was constantly trying to get her to lose weight to hit an arbitrary number, 114 pounds.
Hasay said she thought Cain’s youth and the intensity of the training and the program were a poor combination, but she expressed sympathy for both Cain and Salazar.
“It’s so sad, everyone was trying their best, though,” she said. “I really think you can’t point fingers and it’s really easy from the outside to kick Alberto under the bus. People make mistakes. He could have handled it at times differently. He really was doing his best. He wasn’t trying to cause any of the problems that she described. I sympathize with both sides.
“That’s why it’s hard—I haven’t commented on it—I don’t really have a side. I didn’t experience what she experienced, but I can see how it was so difficult. I think that her message is a good one, addressing these issues, they are important, I think it’s good overall that we’re looking at some of things.”
Hasay continued that when an athlete is still growing and going through puberty, getting to a certain weight is “difficult.” Older athletes on the team, she said, were able to push back in discussions with Salazar on weight.
“Alberto, if you ask me is he obsessed about weight? Yes, but he’s obsessed about everything,” she said. “He wanted to cut my hair [to reduce drag], he wanted me to wear a wetsuit in the Boston Marathon. It’s just every little detail is covered and weight happens to be one of those things.”
Salazar told Hasay she needed to gain weight at times. “He’s told me, ‘You don’t need to be this lean all year. I’d like you to go back up.’ We’ve had discussions. I think when you’re older and more experienced, you can speak up. It’s hard when she’s so young and still growing. It was just the whole situation wasn’t the right fit, unfortunately.”(11/29/2019) ⚡AMP
The 2020 US Olympic Trials for both men and women took place in Atlanta, Ga on Sunday Feb 29. Runners had to qualify by running certain standards beforehand. The trials are hosted by the Atlanta Track club. The course runs through the heart of Atlanta and past monuments from the 1996 Olympic Games Most countries around the world use a...more...
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