In Summary
  • Cain, 23, was a high school prodigy who was tipped for middle-distance greatness
  • Cain said she eventually stopped menstruating for three years and broke five bones because of osteoporosis
  • Nike shut down the Oregon Project in October when Salazar was banned for four years for an array of doping offenses

LOS ANGELES

Nike says it is investigating claims by former runner Mary Cain that she suffered physical and mental abuse as a member of the Nike Oregon Project headed by disgraced coach Alberto Salazar.

Cain, 23, was a high school prodigy who was tipped for middle-distance greatness. She qualified for the 2013 World Championships and made the final of the 1,500m there at the age of 17.

In an op-ed for The New York Times published on Thursday, Cain wrote that she suffered suicidal thoughts and began cutting herself as a result of the methods employed by Salazar and the Oregon Project staff.

Under pressure upon her arrival with the team in Eugene, Oregon, to become "thinner and thinner and thinner," Cain said she eventually stopped menstruating for three years and broke five bones because of osteoporosis.

"These are deeply troubling allegations which have not been raised by Mary or her parents before," Nike said in a statement on Friday.

"Mary was seeking to rejoin the Oregon Project and Alberto's team as recently as April of this year and had not raised these concerns as part of that process.

"We take the allegations extremely seriously and will launch an immediate investigation to hear from former Oregon Project athletes. At Nike we seek to always put the athlete at the center of everything we do, and these allegations are completely inconsistent with our values."

Cain told the New York Times that she joined Nike "because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever.

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