Runner Mary Cain sues former coach Alberto Salazar and Nike for $20 million over alleged abuse

Distance runner Mary Cain, whose profession fizzled after what she has referred to as 4 depressing years on the Nike Oregon Challenge, has filed a $20 million lawsuit towards her former coach, Alberto Salazar, and their employer, Nike.

Cain accused Salazar of emotionally abusing her when she joined the crew in 2012 at age 16, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The lawsuit portrays Salazar as an offended management freak who was obsessive about Cain’s weight and publicly humiliated her about it.

That, she stated, took a toll on her bodily and psychological well being. Nike was conscious however didn’t intervene, in line with the lawsuit.

Runner Abuse Lawsuit Nike
On this April 29, 2016, file photograph, Mary Cain walks off the observe after competing within the ladies’s particular 1500-meter run on the Drake Relays athletics meet in Des Moines, Iowa.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Nike didn’t return messages from the newspaper in search of remark. Salazar couldn’t be reached however has beforehand denied abuse allegations, and has stated neither Cain nor her mother and father raised considerations whereas she was a part of this system.

Within the lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Courtroom, Cain alleges Salazar on a number of events required her to get on a scale in entrance of others and would then criticize her. Salazar additionally policed Cain’s meals consumption, she stated. At instances, Cain was so hungry, she stated, she stole power bars from teammates.

Cain went to her mother and father for assist and alleges Salazar ultimately uninterested in the parental interference. By 2019, Cain says she was depressed, had an consuming dysfunction, generalized nervousness and was chopping herself.

“Nike was letting Alberto weight-shame ladies, objectify their our bodies, and ignore their well being and wellbeing as a part of its tradition,” stated Kristen West McCall, a Portland lawyer representing Cain. “This was a systemic and pervasive concern. And so they did it for their very own gratification and revenue.”

In 2019, Cain informed The New York Occasions in a video essay that she was emotionally and bodily abused whereas in this system. Nike on the time referred to as the allegations deeply troubling and stated it will look into them.

Nike Cain Athletics
On this June 1, 2013, file photograph, Mary Cain, 17, proper, reacts as coach Alberto Salazar tells her she has simply damaged the American highschool 800-meter report in the course of the Prefontaine Basic observe and discipline meet in Eugene, Ore. 

Don Ryan / AP

On the time, Nike stated in an emailed assertion to CBS MoneyWatch. “At Nike we search to at all times put the athlete on the middle of all the things we do, and these allegations are fully inconsistent with our values.”

Salazar helped discovered the Nike Oregon Challenge to make American distance runners aggressive with the remainder of the world.

The Nike Oregon Challenge was disbanded in 2019 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Company accused Salazar of three violations. The company banned him from the game for 4 years.

Salazar appealed to the Courtroom for Arbitration for Sport. Final month, the courtroom upheld Salazar’s four-year ban from the game and a few of USADA’s findings. It dominated that Salazar tried an “intentional and orchestrated scheme to mislead” anti-doping investigators when he tampered with proof.

Cain’s 2019 New York Occasions op-ed prompted one other former Oregon Challenge runner to share her expertise. Amy Yoder stated Cain’s feedback introduced again “painful reminiscences” from eight years in the past. 

“After putting sixth within the 10,000m on the 2011 USATF championships, I used to be kicked out of the Oregon Challenge,” Yoder tweeted on the time. “I used to be informed I used to be too fats and had the most important butt on the beginning line.” 

Aimee Picchi contributed to this report.

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