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A week after coach Alberto Salazar was served a four-year ban for experimenting with performance-enhancing drugs, Nike has shut down his Nike Oregon Project (NOP) training group. Runner's World first reported the news on Thursday night.
In a memo provided to RW, Nike CEO Mark Parker wrote: “This situation, along with ongoing unsubstantiated assertions, is a distraction for many of the athletes and is compromising their ability to focus on their training and competition needs. I have therefore made the decision to wind down the Oregon Project."
He added that Nike will help current NOP athletes as "they choose the coaching set up that is right for them."
As of Thursday night, the Nike Oregon Project website is no longer in service. Details released from the memo did not mention Pete Julian, who coaches many NOP athletes and is still in good standing with the IAAF.
NOP athletes Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay are scheduled to race the Chicago Marathon in just three days, as is former NOP star Mo Farah. Salazar's shadow will likely loom large over the World Marathon Major, just as it dominated conversation last weekend during the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, where NOP athlete Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands became the first runner to win double 1500m and 10K gold at the event.