The monstrous face of doping which is threatening to bring down athletes and the athletics sport has reared its face again, this time on one of the world’s most revered stars.
Alberto Salazar, the coach of Britain’s two-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, has been caught in the midst of a doping scam where he is alleged to have doped Farah’s training partner and Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp from as early as the age of 16.
The revelations came in a Panorama documentary which claimed Rupp, 29, has been taking the banned anabolic steroid testosterone.
Steve Magness, who worked as an assistant to Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project in 2011, said he saw a document showing Rupp’s drug levels, which revealed the then-teenager was taking prohibited testosterone medication.
“When I saw that, I kind of jumped backwards,” Magness, a former athlete, said in the documentary. “Testosterone is obviously banned… Everybody knew that. When I looked a little further, I saw it was all the way back in high school, and that was incredibly shocking,” he added.
The investigation by the Panorama programme centres on the Nike running camp in Portland, Oregon, where Salazar is the head coach.The documentary also features testimony from athletes and staff who worked with Salazar at the Oregon Project and who accuse him of facilitating the use of banned substances and illegal practices.
Rupp strongly denies the allegations in the documentary, saying: “I am completely against the use of performance-enhancing drugs.”
Farah, who won gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympics, said “I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance.”
Farah, 32, has worked with Salazar since 2011 while Rupp, who took silver behind the Somali-born athlete in the 10,000 metres at the 2012 Olympics, has been a member of Salazar’s stable for 14 years.
Both Salazar, an athletics great who won three successive New York marathons, and Rupp deny any wrongdoing, while there is no suggestion that Farah has broken doping rules.