Nike to back Salazar ban appeal but closes Oregon Project

Nike will back Alberto Salazar with his appeal, but the company has decided to bring the Oregon Project to an end.

Time has well and truly run out for Alberto Salazar.   -  Getty Images

Nike has decided to close down the Oregon Project less than a fortnight after coach Alberto Salazar was banned from athletics for four years.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency sanctioned Salazar, former coach of long-distance great Mo Farah, at the start of this month after he was found guilty of multiple anti-doping violations.

Nike on Friday confirmed it will continue to back Salazar with his appeal, but the Oregon Project will be brought to an end.

READ : Whistleblower: Salazar's Oregon Project should be shut down

A company spokesperson said: "Nike has always tried to put the athlete and their needs at the front of all of our decisions.

"While the panel found there was no orchestrated doping, no finding that performance enhancing drugs have ever been used on Oregon Project athletes and went out of its way to note Alberto's desire to follow all rules, ultimately Alberto can no longer coach while the appeal is pending.

"This situation including uninformed innuendo and unsubstantiated assertions has become an unfair burden for current OP athletes. That is exactly counter to the purpose of the team.

What is the Nike Oregon Project?

The Oregon Project, was a dedicated training project to support and nurture endurance athletes in the United States of America. Salazar, a renowned runner himself, was head coach of the project.

Athletes currently involved in the project will be helped through their transition to alternative training facilities.


"We have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project to allow the athletes to focus on their training and competition needs.

"We will help all of our athletes in this transition as they choose the coaching set-up that is right for them. We will continue to support Alberto in his appeal."

Japanese athlete Suguru Osako, who joined the Oregon Project four years ago, expressed his disappointment over the decision.

 

He tweeted: "I am sad that the dear team that made me stronger will be gone. But I will keep exploring myself and I will continue being myself.

"As Nike has expressed their commitment to continuing support as they have, my activities will not be disrupted at all."