The Kara and Adam Goucher allegations
Kara and Adam Goucher [pictured] are a second primary source in the BBC and ProPublica stories. Kara ran for me in the Oregon Project for 7 years. We were very close. I had great respect for Kara as an athlete and as a person. Adam also ran for me in the Oregon Project but for a shorter time period. As I will describe more fully below, Adam’s behavior is why I no longer coach Kara.
The Gouchers have made a number of allegations against me in the BBC and ProPublica stories that are not true. It should be noted that even while making these false allegations against me, neither Kara nor Adam ever claim that I violated the WADA Code or IAAF anti-doping rules. They never allege that they committed any doping violation or that I ever asked them to commit any doping violation. I never did.
Here is what really happened with contemporaneous emails and documents to prove it.
Kara’s Post-Pregnancy Weight
• I fully supported Kara’s efforts and did not want her to lose weight more quickly
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara claims that five months after her son was born, I was unhappy with her weight and told her to take Cytomel, a thyroid medication to lose weight. That is just not true. I was thrilled with Kara’s weight, body compostion and fitness in 2011, and I told her so. She had lost weight, but she had added muscle and lowered her body fat. I did not think she needed to lose additional weight and I did not want her to lose any more weight. Here is a documented timeline of events.
• September 25, 2010: Colt Goucher is born.
• October 20, 2010:Kara posts on her karagoucher.competitor.com blog that she has already lost 27 of the 35 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. http://karagoucher.competitor.com/page/4/
• February 22, 2011:I complimented Kara on her latest hemoglobin test results and her weight loss.
• March 24, 2011: Kara’s nutritionist emailed Kara’s latest body composition test results to Magness, Kara Goucher and me. Her nutritionist detailed how she and Kara had developed a plan to slowly get Kara to the weight Kara wanted to be in time for the World Championships in late summer. See Exhibit 18.
• March 25, 2011: I emailed her nutritionist that I thought Kara had put on some good upper body muscle and perhaps even some in her calves and thighs and that I did not want Kara to shoot for weight she could not reach. See Exhibit 19. Her nutritionist emailed Kara to let her know that I was fine with the approach they had laid out and that I did not want Kara going for too much. The nutritionist noted that I did not want Kara to even weigh herself the week before the Boston Marathon. See Exhibit 20.
• April 4, 2011: I emailed one of Kara’s trainers who had designed weight-training programs for her, to congratulate him on the tremendous job he had done with Kara. I noted that she is “rock hard everywhere” at 125 pounds two weeks before the Boston Marathon and that she competed at 124 pounds two years earlier. I noted that she was stronger and more defined and that her body would take the pounding of a marathon better than any other runners. I noted that through her workouts and strength training with them, Kara had been able to match what others had only been able to accomplish through cheating.
• April 5, 2011:I emailed Kara, forwarding my email to her trainer, stating: “FYI- I’m not exaggerating, I’m so pumped about how ripped you are! You’ve now got the body to take the pounding better than ever before and your engine is bigger than ever! – Alberto”
These documents make clear that I was thrilled with Kara’s weight after she had Colt and I told her so repeatedly. I fully supported her efforts and did not want her to lose weight more quickly. In fact, I wanted her not to lose weight so quickly.
Kara and Cytomel
• I gave Kara Cytomel, in August 2011 in Daegu, South Korea, after being expressly directed to do so by Kara’s endocrinologist.
• I did not give Kara Cytomel to lose weight as she now claims.
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara Goucher claims that her endocrinologist told her not to take Cytomel. Adam Goucher then claims that Kara’s endocrinologist “chastised” me for having given Kara some Cytomel tablets. Those statements are just false. Notably, the BBC and ProPublica stories do not contain statements from Kara and Adam’s endocrinologist, Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
There was one time when I gave Kara Cytomel. It was in August 2011in Daegu, South Korea. I did so after being expressly directed to do so by Kara’s endocrinologist, Dr. Brown. See Exhibit 21. Here is documented timeline of that event.
• August 17-18, 2011: Kara received cortisone injections to treat an injury before participating in the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
• August 19, 2011: I received an email advising me of the exact medicines and dosages of the cortisone injections Kara received. See Exhibit 22. I spoke with Dr.Brown on August 19th about how the athletes were feeling I told him that Kara had been feeling tired and off for some days. He asked me if she’d taken any new medications, especially anything with cortisone, as he says it reduces your thyroid hormone absorption. I told him that the she had received two cortisone shots. He asked me to get the details of the shots for him.
August 20, 2011: I emailed Kara’s endocrinologist, Dr. Brown, the details of Kara’s cortisone shots and asked if he wanted to change anything in her treatment. I also noted that I had picked up the Cytomel Dr. Brown had prescribed for Galen. I further noted that I was on my way to Korea and would be traveling for the next 18 hours. See Exhibit 22. Dr. Brown responded that Kara “should immediately start on the cytomel 5 micrograms twice a day. the first dose she should take with her levoxyl and then next 12 hours later and so on.” See Exhibit 22.
August 21, 2012: I emailed Dr. Brown that I would have Kara start on her Cytomel now. See Exhibit 22.
The documents clearly demonstrate that I gave Kara Cytomel upon the express direction of her endocrinologist, Dr. Brown. I did not give Kara Cytomel to lose weight as she now claims.
2011 IAAF World Championships, Daegu, South Korea
• I did not request an IV or saline drip while in Daegu,
• Galen has never received a TUE for an IV or saline drip.
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara claims that I was “fuming” when I called a USATF official to complain that a U.S. doctor had declined to give Galen Rupp an IV. Kara then claims that I told her how we would manipulate the system to get Galen an IV stating how he would answer certain questions. Those allegations are false. As the US team doctor has confirmed, at no time did I request the US team doctor to give Galen an IV or saline drip while he was in Daegu in 2011. See Exhibit 23. Here is a documented timeline of what happened.
• August 24, 2011: I emailed Jim Estes, USATF Associate Director of Marketing and LDR Programs, to ask the US team doctors to see if Galen could get a magnesium infusion and vitamin B12 shot because of issues he was suffering due to the heat and humidity in Daegu. See Exhibit 24. Magnesium and vitamin B12 are not banned substances and the treatment is permitted under the WADA Code and IAAF anti-doping rules. Jim Estes emailed me back stating that he was “taking Kara back now and will check with him [USATF team doctor Bob Adams] when he got back. See Exhibit 24.
• Galen did not receive any vitamin shots in Deagu. The U.S. team doctors did not have any needles and UK Athletics doctors could not treat a U.S. athlete.
These documents prove that I never requested an IV or saline drip for Galen in Daegu. They also prove that I did not call a USATF official “fuming” that Galen had not received something I never requested in the first place.
I also should note that not only did I not request an IV or saline drip while in Daegu, Galen has never received a TUE for an IV or saline drip. Galen’s TUEs have been exclusively for the treatment of his asthma and allergies. Since 2010, when WADA no longer required a TUE for Galen’s prescription medicine, Advair, Galen has received 2 TUEs, both for short term doses of prednisone; one on July 22, 2011 and the second on February 26, 2012. He has not had a TUE since then.
Galen’s American Record Performance In Brussels
• An experienced runner should know the impact of temperature when running.
• Galen ran an excellent race in Brussels, but his performance in Daegu was actually better.
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara makes a gratuitous and completely unfounded attack on Galen regarding the American record he set in the 10,000m race in Brussels on September 16, 2011. In the stories, Kara claims that she spoke with Galen in Daegu and he said he was tired, exhausted and excited to have the season over. She then states that: “You don’t get to the end of a long year burnt out and take two weeks off and come out and run the best race of your life, that’s not how it works. You have to rest. You have to recover. You have to start all over again.”
Kara’s statements are wrong on so many levels. First, Kara grossly underestimates Galen’s accomplishments and how strong of a race he ran in Daegu. Galen’s 10,000m time in Daegu was 27:26.84. After the race, Magness researched Galen’s performance to see how it compared to others under similar conditions for heat and humidity. The research showed that Galen’s time was the fastest time for a non-African under those conditions by approximately 25 seconds or more. Magness also calculated the impact of Galen’s size and weight compared to the other runners in that race. (Galen was 8-10 pounds heavier than those that finished above him.) Magness determined that Galen’s size differential compounded the impact of the heat and humidity such that it added 18 seconds to his time – a mere 8 second differential would have put Galen on the podium.
We were very excited for Galen to run in Brussels in a few weeks when the weather would be much cooler. Galen’s training for Brussels was going very well and days before the race I emailed others indicating that if the pace of the race started correctly, Galen could run a 26:45 and set the American Record. The temperature at race time was much cooler, approximately 59ºF, compared to 80ºF in Daegu. The pace was favorable and Galen ran a 26:48 for 3rd place and a new American record.
An experienced runner like Kara should know the impact of temperature when running. Her claim that “that’s not how it works” to the BBC and ProPublica is not true. Galen ran an excellent race in Brussels but his performance in Daegu was actually better. Simply inputting Galen’s Brussels time and weather conditions into the Running Calculator on the RunSmartProject.com translates his Brussels time to a 27:38 for the Daegu weather conditions– or approximately 11 seconds slower than Galen ran in Daegu. Galen’s improved time in Brussels was not an anomaly either. Kenensia Bekele dropped out of the race in Daegu and then came back to win the 10,000m in Brussels with a 2011 world-leading time of 26:43.16.
Also, it should be noted that Kara raised no such issues at the time. The day of the race, she emailed me congratulations on Galen’s great run. It is sad that Kara has made these baseless attacks on Galen and what he has accomplished.
Termination of the Gouchers Relationship with the Oregon Project
• Adam and Kara Goucher did not leave the Oregon Project due to unfounded allegations as the BBC story implies.
The BBC and ProPublica stories note that Adam and Kara are no longer in the Oregon Project. The stories, however, do not provide any detail why that is the case. The stories imply that it was related to the allegations Adam and Kara falsely assert in the stories. That is not the case. Here is what happened.
In 2008, Adam Goucher suffered a number of injuries and his performance was off. Adam had run the 32nd fastest 10,000m time that year and had missed the cut for the Olympic Trials for that event. Adam petitioned the USATF, which granted him an exception that allowed him to compete as the 25th runner in the field. I coached Adam for the Trials and we were hopeful he would qualify for Beijing. He didn’t. In the warm-up area after that race, Adam became extremely emotional and belligerent toward me and the race plan we had developed together. My relationship with Adam never recovered.
I continued to coach Kara, however, and she continued to be successful. My relationship with Adam remained strained, but, Kara and I were able to overcome it. Adam also played a bigger role in her training, travel arrangements and other matters. He continually complained. Finally, things came to a head in Daegu when Adam went on an insulting rant. That was the last straw.
After Daegu, I emailed Adam about his behavior. I told him that I did not want him involved in Kara’s workouts any longer and if that was not acceptable to Kara I would find a new coach for her. Kara was copied on this email and I also forwarded it to Magness and others in the Oregon Project.
Kara responded shortly thereafter defending Adam and copied in Darren Treasure of the Oregon Project. I responded that Kara had to decide if she wanted me to coach her or not. I told her: I will not coach you if Adam continues with his actions and feelings. I care too much about you to go forward with a bound to fail proposition. Going forward, I’m no longer going to be handling any of your travel, hotels, etc. Adam…can set it up.
Kara then responded: Alberto, I love you and love being coached by you. But if you don’t want to coach me anymore, please tell me now. I cannot go through another year by myself like this past year. If you don’t want to coach me, please tell me now so that I can figure out what I am going to do. I can’t stress enough how much I love you coaching me, but I can’t handle these types of threats leading into an Olympic year.
To suggest I was threatening Kara is absurd. I just didn’t want to fail her because her husband didn’t agree with my approach. In the end, I could not coach her if Adam was involved.
When I returned from Brussels, Kara and I met and agreed it was best that we part ways and she find another coach. After our meeting we exchanged additional emails and parted friends. See Exhibit 25. I told her I still loved her. She wrote back that while we disagree on some things, we both agree that we care a lot for one another and hope that never changes. She wrote: “I have loved you for years now and don’t see that changing.” See Exhibit 25.
These emails make it abundantly clear why I stopped coaching Kara. It had nothing to do with the reasons implied in the BBC and ProPublica stories.
I also note that Kara’s contemporaneous public statements after leaving the Oregon Project are consistent with the emails we exchanged at the time and there is no hint of any impropriety by anyone associated with the Oregon Project. For example, in her October 23, 2011 post on her karagoucher.competitor.com blog Kara stated:
‘My decision to leave the Oregon Project was a very difficult one and a decision that I gave endless thought and consideration. I have had my best years under Alberto Salazar and after 7 years together he certainly knows me better as an athlete than anyone besides my husband. I have blossomed under him, going from an often injured nobody to a World Championship bronze medalist and Major Marathon podium finisher. To say that Alberto has helped me find myself and my career would be a massive understatement. He has forever changed my life and I feel eternal gratitude toward him.’ Here is a link to her full statement: http://karagoucher.competitor.com
Thus, from the facts disclosed above, supported by contemporaneous emails and documents, it is clear that the statements by Adam and Kara Goucher in the BBC/ProPublica stories are false. I have no idea why they have made these false statements about the Oregon Project, Galen and me. I find it sad beyond words.