Aberto Salazar, a coach for top Olympic runners who is backed by Nike, has been banned for four-years, starting Tuesday, for "orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct," the USADA announced on Monday.
The doping accusations he is being banned for took place while he was working with Nike as the head coach of the Nike Oregon Project. A consultant for the project, Dr. Jeffrey Brown, was also handed a four-year ban.
USADA's report says the two "trafficked testosterone" and "administered a prohibited IV infusion" all while tampering with information to prevent the USADA from discovering their actions.
The report and accusations come from testimonies by athletes the two trained as well as information from "contemporaneous emails, and patient records."
USADA Chief Executive Officer Travis T. Tygart said the athletes played a large role in breaking this case:
"The athletes in these cases found the courage to speak out and ultimately exposed the truth. While acting in connection with the Nike Oregon Project, Mr. Salazar and Dr. Brown demonstrated that winning was more important than the health and wellbeing of the athletes they were sworn to protect."
USADA's findings also revealed that he was updating Nike CEO Mark Parker of his doping efforts. An email uncovered by the Wall Street Journal shows Brown giving details of a hormonal cream experiment to Parker, who responded with questions about making sure the product would not come up in a PED test.
Details from the email via the Wall Street Journal:
"We tested levels in the commonly used screening at least for track and field of urinary T/E (testosterone/epitestosterone) ratios after 1 pump (1.25 grams) and 2 pumps (2.5 grams) of Androgel," Dr. Brown wrote, according to the report on his sanction, referencing the brand of testosterone cream used. "We found that even though there was a slight rise in T/E ratios, it was below the level of 4 which would trigger great concern."
Mr. Parker responded, "Jeff, thanks for the update on the tests. It will be interesting to determine the minimal amount of topical male hormone required to create a positive test. Are there other topical hormones that would create more dramatic results…or other substances that would accelerate the rate of absorption into the body?
On Tuesday, Nike released a statement saying the email exchange was based out of fear that others would put the testosterone cream on their runners in an attempt to sabotage them.
This is not the first incident involving Salazar, who has a history of putting his runners' health at risk while training them. In the past, he gave an excessive amount of supplements and infusions to runners and looked for off-label side-effects of legal drugs despite potential harm to clients.
Some of Salazar's actions, including giving contradicting medical advice to his runners, was considered "unconscionable." In May of 2017, a confidential USADA report explained how Salazar and Brown tried to keep their athletes from leaking any information about the medications or supplements they were being given. The two told their athletes to "become a silo."
Salazar and Brown have both denied doing anything wrong.