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‘This Doesn’t Sound Legal’: Inside Nike’s Oregon Project

Salazar has emphatically denied violating antidoping rules. He has said that he and his athletes closely followed all protocols established by antidoping authorities.

But in the report, antidoping officials depicted Salazar as a medicine chest whose door swung open for the world-class athletes on Nike’s payroll. They said he provided or helped gain access to prescription-dose vitamin D; calcitonin; ferrous sulfate; Advair; testosterone; and various thyroid medications. Many of the drugs have no proven benefits for runners.

The antidoping agency began investigating Salazar and the Oregon Project in 2015, after former team members and a staff member described cheating within the program in a report by the BBC and ProPublica.

United States antidoping officials now believe that Salazar and a Texas endocrinologist administered an infusion procedure in violation of antidoping rules, colluded to cover it up and then lied to their athletes about its legality.

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The United States Anti-Doping Agency tried unsuccessfully last year to obtain a deposition from Dr. Jeffrey S. Brown, an endocrinologist in Houston. His lawyer called it a “fishing expedition.”

Credit
Eric Kayne

“Salazar’s conduct here is patently calculating, misleading and dishonest,” the antidoping officials wrote in the report, which was drafted in March 2016 as an appeal to the Texas Medical Board to compel the release of the endocrinologist’s medical files.

Salazar, who refused to cooperate with the antidoping agency’s investigation, did not respond to interview requests. Nike declined to respond to questions about the report.

Ritzenhein declined to comment on specifics of his time with Salazar, instead deferring to his sworn testimony in the report, in which he and other…

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