Leading off today:
I think almost anybody who follows cross country and track and field expected Mary Cain
to speak on the subject at some point, particularly in light of recent developments. However, I'm not sure very many of us expected the comments to be so blistering.
Cain, who dropped out of high school competition at Bronxville and bypasses college in order to turn pro, broke her silence Thursday on controversial former coach Alberto Salazar and time as a member of the Nike Oregon Project.
"I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever," she told The New York Times. "Instead, I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike."
Cain says she was pushed by Salazar and his assistant coaches to get thinner and was publicly called out for her weight after a track meet in 2015. She says she broke five bones and did not get her period for three years while training under Salazar.
"He would usually weigh me in front of my teammates and publicly shame me if I wasn't hitting weight," Cain said. "He wanted to give me birth controls and diuretics ... the latter of which isn't allowed in track and field."
Salazar denied Cain's claims to the New York Times and said that he "supported her health and welfare." Nike did not respond, the paper reported.
However, Salazar -- and by extension Nike -- are under intense scrutiny in the track and field world at the moment. The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced in September that Salazar was being for four years for violating anti-doping rules. He is appealing the decision, and Nike vowed to support him through that process.
Cain was spectacular at Bronxville, breaking a national freshman 1,500-meter record in 2011, setting U.S. junior record in the two-mile and 1,500 runs and lopping huge margins off other U.S. scholastic marks.
Her time with Salazar and Nike started in promising fashion with two national titles and an appearance in the 2013 IAAF World Championship final in the 1,500 meters.
But the NYT piece reports that Cain soon battled depression that led to suicidal thoughts. She says she Salazar did nothing after she told him in 2015 that she was cutting herself.
She left the Oregon Project in October 2016, and Nike shut down the program last month.