Mary Cain: US athlete accuses Alberto Salazar and Nike of overseeing system of 'physical and emotional abuse'

Kishan Vaghela
Mary Cain: 'Alberto was constantly trying to get me to lose weight': Getty

Former Nike Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain has accused Alberto Salazar and Nike of running a system which left her feeling “physically and emotionally abused”.

Salazar was last month found guilty of doping violations following a four-year investigation from the US Anti Doping Agency, a ban which he has since revealed that he will appeal.

However Cain, who qualified for the 2013 World Athletics Championships aged 17, has revealed to the New York Times how her period stopped for three years and how she broke five bones due to osteoporosis after she said she was being pressurised to lose weight by Salazar, which consequently led her to have suicidal thoughts and inflict self-harm.

“I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever. Instead I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike,” Cain, now 23, said.

“Alberto was constantly trying to get me to lose weight. He created an arbitrary number of 114lbs and he would usually weigh me in front of my teammates and publicly shame me if I wasn’t hitting weight.

“He wanted to give me birth control pills and diuretics to lose weight. I felt so scared and alone and I felt so trapped and I started to have suicidal thoughts.

“I started to cut myself. Some people saw me cutting myself. And nobody really did anything or said anything. I wasn’t even trying to make the Olympics any more, I was trying to survive.”

In an email to the New York Times, Salazar has denied many of Cain’s claims.