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Alberto Salazar Ruled Permanently Ineligible by SafeSport For Verbal, Sexual Misconduct

The United States Center for SafeSport has ruled former track coach Alberto Salazar permanently ineligible for sexual misconduct and emotional misconduct violations. 

The decision by SafeSport, an independent body that handles investigations and complaints into abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports, is subject to appeal by Salazar.

According to the SafeSport code, "This means that a Participant is permanently prohibited from participating, in any capacity, in any program, activity, event, or competition sponsored by, organized 5 by, or under the auspices of the USOPC, any NGB, and/or any LAO, or at a facility under their jurisdiction. This sanction is imposed only when a Participant is found to have engaged in egregious forms of misconduct, and represents a permanent bar from participation in Olympic & Paralympic sport."

Salazar was placed on the temporarily banned list in January 2020 as the center investigated his behavior toward women that he has coached. 

In November 2019, former high school star Mary Cain spoke out about years of abuse under Salazar's guidance as a member of the Nike Oregon Project. In the days after coming forward with her account in an Op-Doc with the New York Times, several former Oregon Project members validated her claims and shared their own experiences about the toxic team culture under Salazar. 

In 2019, former Oregon Project athletes including world championship medalist Kara Goucher shared accounts of how Salazar would openly make comments about her and other teammates' bodies and weight

Salazar has denied all allegations of abuse. 

"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," Salazar said in his statement to SI in 2019. "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."

The United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Salazar and Dr. Jeffrey Brown in September 2019 for four years. While no athlete who has trained under Salazar has ever tested positive for any banned substance, USADA determined Salazar tampered with the doping control process and trafficked banned performance-enhancing substances including testosterone. 

Salazar has denied any wrongdoing and is appealing that ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The case was heard in March after it was delayed from its initial hearing in November 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. No decision has been released by CAS on whether Salazar's ban will be upheld, shortened or overturned.

Nike shuttered the Oregon Project in October 2019. Several former Salazar athletes are competing at the Tokyo Olympics.