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Nike shuts down Salazar's Oregon Project - reports

Nike shuts down Salazar's Oregon Project - reports

Alberto Salazar (centre) alongside Mo Farah (right) and Galen Rupp (left) at the London 2012 OlympicsThe Nike Oregon Project has been closed down in the wake of head coach Alberto Salazar being banned for four years after being found guilty of doping violations, reports in the US claim.Runner's World[/i] says it has seen an internal memo from Nike chief Mark Parker calling the Salazar "situation" a "distraction" for NOP athletes.The NOP's website and social media channels have been taken down.
NOP athlete Suguru Osako appeared to confirm the news on social media.[/i]"I am sad that the dear team that made me stronger will be gone," the 28-year-old Japanese long-distance runner wrote on Twitter. "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."Bloomberg[/i] said a Nike company spokesperson had confirmed the NOP's closure.BBC Sport has contacted Nike for confirmation.On 6 October, key whistle-blower Kara Goucher told BBC Sport the NOP - an elite athlete training group backed by the sportswear giant - should be shut down.Salazar's ban followed a four-year investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and a two-year court battle behind closed doors.The 61-year-old American said he will appeal against the ruling."This situation, along with ongoing unsubstantiated assertions, is a distraction for many of the athletes and is compromising their ability to focus on their training and competition needs," said Parker in the memo seen by Runner's World."I have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project."Parker added Nike would assist athletes to "choose the coaching set up that is right for them".He also stressed the Usada findings that performance-enhancing drugs had not been used on or by NOP athletes.The NOP, based in Beaverton, Oregon, was established in 2001 and was the home of British four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah between 2011 and 2017.At the time of its apparent folding, the NOP counted Ethiopian Sifan Hassan, who won 1500m and 10,000m gold at this month's World Athletics Championships in Doha, among its athletes.
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