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Can Galen Rupp outrun the shadow of a disgraced former coach?

By: Andruw Lin

American distance runner Galen Rupp is competing in the World Championships this Saturday. Rupp won the U.S. Olympic Trials marathons in 2016 and 2020. He was once a member of the Nike Oregon Project, founded by his former coach Alberto Salazar. Salazar is a former world record holder in the men’s marathon, and he also coached several successful athletes. However, Salazar was banned from the sport in 2019 because of doping and sexual assault allegations, and Nike decided to close its Oregon Project.

Salazar was brought up on doping-affiliated charges, however, Rupp has never failed a drug test. Salazar’s actions in 2019 caused Rupp to be assumed guilty by association. “Every athlete is entitled to the presumption of innocence, unless and until proven guilty through the legal process, that they have committed a violation,” said Travis Tygart, chief executive at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “It’s not fair to convict any athlete otherwise, but the reality is, in today’s world, it’s the same lesson I tell my kid, your choices do have consequences, and not everyone accepts that principle, and the choices of who you hang out with, you will be viewed by the company you keep.”

Rupp has run many marathons and got good results for many of them. For this World Championship, he decided to skip the money that he might have received from running in a major spring marathon to focus on training to bring home a worlds win in his home state of Oregon. He has battled back pain for a year and was diagnosed with a herniated disc and pinched nerve. He had Covid-19 last month. Will Rupp be able to emerge victorious in the World Championships with his past with Salazar and all the injuries and sickness he faced?


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