Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Alberto Salazar

The allegations about Salazar aired on Panorama last week are still dominating the (sports) news here.

There's a nice summary of it here (just ignore the survey question) but genuinely the only thing in that programme that surprised me was that Allan Wells had been using testosterone, I'd always assumed he was clean (not that I claim to be any sort of expert).

Anyway, I'll be very interested to see where the Salazar/Rupp (and by extension of course, Farah) story goes, as (1) I've had suspicions about his whole outfit and Nike and the Oregon Project for years now and (2) it's yet another of those subjects that I want to do a much longer post about (I'm going to have to set up a spreadsheet to keep track of those, there's so many).

I genuinely don't know if Salazar out-and-out dopes, but it's well-known in the sport - he practically admits it - that he exploits grey areas to the maximum possible degree. In particular, a surprising proportion of his athletes seem to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or suddenly become asthmatic, or (if they're male) have their testosterone levels found to be dangerously low, or whatever. Of course this means they are able to obtain the appropriate medication to "correct" these problems, and so also able to obtain PED (sorry, Therapeutic Use) exemptions accordingly. I don't know, but my instinct is that Salazar is working with Dr. Nick Riviera rather than Dr. Lionel Hibbert, if you know what I'm saying.

Shortly before all the Lance Armstrong revelations became public (late 2011?) I remember talking to my brother (who still didn't want to believe that Lance was a scumbag) and I definitely mentioned that I thought there might be something funny going on with Mo Farah, who earlier that year had joined Salazar's group and was rapidly improving his PBs across the board. Obviously I would love to put his amazing improvements down to the reasons that Salazar gives; better training, oxygen tents, altitude simulation, super-high-tech gadgets, hard work, more work, more better harder work with every possible technological advancement used maximally etc., but well...you know.

Now, even within what is effectively a private diary, I'd better be careful what I type here...

This is how I see it playing out:

- Salazar denies everything and insists he always works within the rules
- Couple of days later, turns out all the Panorama allegations (and more) were true
- Everything looks bad for everyone connected with that group, frankly
- Something is contrived by which Salazar and Rupp take all the blame (i.e. Farah is "clean")

Why? Because a certain ex-middle distance runner who wants to be the next IAAF chief (who has described himself as a "good friend" of Salazar's for over thirty years) is now saying things like "Alberto will mount a stout defence" and "I'm not supporting him" and "Mo will have to make his own judgment about that [Salazar's defence]". It suggests some sort of get-out clause for Farah, unless I'm turning into some sort of David Icke-type conspiracy nut.

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