Mary Cain: Former track and field prodigy sues Nike and her former coach Alberto Salazar for $20 million

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Mary Cain filed a lawsuit against the sportswear company and Alberto Salazar in Oregon on Monday. Alberto Salazar was responsible for managing the Nike Oregon project until he was suspended for doping violations and the project was closed.

Beginning in 2012, Kane participated in the Nike headquarters plan, which aims to improve the fate of American long-distance runners in international competitions.

When she joined the team informally, she was 16 years old. In the second year, she accepted an endorsement contract with Nike and became a professional runner for the Nike Oregon project.

The lawsuit alleges that, as the head coach, Salazar “acts when he knows that serious emotional distress will definitely or basically be caused by his actions.”

Alberto Salazar: Top track coach suspended for four years for doping violation

In particular, the complaint stated, “Salazar told her that she was too fat and her breasts and hips were too big.”

Cain’s lawyer also claimed that “Salazar and other Nike employees often make sexist and objective comments on female athletes, focusing on their appearance and weight, while they have not made similar comments on male athletes.”

Cain said in the lawsuit that her diet made her hungry, and she secretly stole the food she ate in the bathroom from her teammates.

The complaint stated that even after winning the 3,000m Junior World Championship in 2014, Salazar still publicly accused her of her weight, which was the first time for an American woman.

The lawsuit also stated that Salazar knew that Cain had an eating disorder and deliberately cut himself, but he allegedly did nothing and laughed at Cain for having a panic attack.

Cain’s complaint about the Nike Oregon project was first made public in 2019, when she shared her story in a 7-minute video column with The New York Times.
At the time, Nike told CNN that it was investigating these allegations and said: “These deeply disturbing allegations have never been raised by Mary or her parents before.”

The New York Times also reported that it had received an email from Salazar denying many of Cain’s claims and saying that “he supports her health and welfare”.

The project was closed later that year after Salazar was suspended for four years due to suspected doping violations by the US anti-doping agency. Salazar appealed the ban, and he lost last month.

In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, Nike responded: “We do not comment on ongoing litigation. Nike is committed to positively influencing the future of women’s and girls’ sports, and we have done more in this area than ever before.”

The message sent to Salazar requesting comment was not returned to CNN on Wednesday.

Salazar, who was born in Cuba, has an outstanding track and field career, winning the New York Marathon for three consecutive years from 1980-82. In 1982, he won the second place in the World Cross Country Championships.

He also held the records of 5000 meters and 10000 meters in the United States.

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