A former high school track and field standout from the Hudson Valley is suing Nike and her former coach for $20 million for alleged physical and emotional abuse.
Mary Cain, a distance runner who cut her teeth while running for Bronxville High School in Westchester for a decade and starring on multiple national teams, is suing Nike and her former coach Alberto Salazar for $20 million, according to multiple new reports.
Cain was a standout amateur athlete, competing in multiple national and international events before her career fizzled during four years at the Nike Oregon Project, where she was allegedly emotionally abused by Salazar.
The lawsuit claims that Nike was aware of the allegations against Salazar but never intervened as her mental and physical health deteriorated.
Neither Nike nor Salazar have commented on the allegations.
In the lawsuit, the now 25-year-old Cain alleges that on multiple occasions, Salazar would require her to get on a scale in front of others and would be critical of her. He also allegedly commented on her food intake at times with mocking comments.
It is alleged that by 2019, Cain suffered from depression, had general anxiety, was self-harming herself, and had an eating disorder.
“Salazar teased her about being emotional, and did so in front of other people, accusing her of being weak because she could not control her emotions,” the lawsuit states.
Issues were first brought up by Cain in a New York Times article published in 2019, at which point Nike called the allegations "troubling" and agreed to look into them.
The Nike Oregon Project was disbanded following those allegations after the US Anti-Doping Agency (accused Salazar of three violations, leading to his ban from the sport for four years.
A court recently held up the USADA’s four-year ban of Salazar, who has maintained his innocence.
“I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever,” Cain said in the New York Times video essay. “Instead, I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike.”
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