The runner distance Mary Cain, whose career was cut short after what she called four miserable years at the Nike Oregon Project, filed a $ 20 million lawsuit against his former trainer, Alberto Salazar, and their employer, Nike.
Cain accused Salazar of abusing her emotionally when she joined the team in 2012 at the age of 16, The Oregonian / OregonLive reported. The lawsuit portrays Salazar as an angry control freak who was obsessed with Cain's weight and publicly humiliated him about it.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE AT FOXNEWS.COM
This, she says, took a toll on her physical and mental health. Nike knew but did not intervene, lawsuit says .
Nike did not return the newspaper's messages requesting comment. Salazar could not be reached but has previously denied allegations of abuse, and said neither Cain Neither her parents had raised any concerns while she was in the program.
In the lawsuit filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Cain alleges that Salazar asked him to repeatedly to climb a ladder in front of others and then criticize her. Salazar also monitored Cain's food intake, she said. Parfois, Cain was so hungry, she said, that she stole energy bars from his teammates.
Cain went to ask his parents for help and alleges that Salazar ended up getting tired of parental interference. In 2019, Cain reported that she was depressed, had an eating disorder, had generalized anxiety, and was cutting herself.
"Nike let Alberto shame women, objectify their bodies and ignore their health and well-being as part of its culture," said Kristen West McCall, a Portland lawyer representing Cain. "It was a pervasive, systemic problem. And they did it for their own satisfaction and profit.
In 2019, Cain told The New York Times in a video essay that she was emotionally and physically abused forthe program. At the time, Nike called the allegations deeply troubling and said it would look into them.
Salazar helped found the Nike Oregon Project to make American long-distance runners competitive with the rest of the world.
Project Nike Oregon was disbanded in 2019 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency charged Salazar with three violations. The agency banned him from playing the sport for four years.
Salazar appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Last month, the court upheld Salazar's four-year sports ban and some of USADA's findings. He ruled that Salazar attempted an "intentional and orchestrated plan to mislead" doping investigators when he falsified evidence.