The United States Anti-Doping Agency has determined that Alberto Salazar, the coach of several prominent Olympic track and field stars, may have skirted anti-doping rules by providing performance-enhancing substances to athletes, according to a leaked USADA report obtained by the London-based Sunday Times.
One of the athletes who allegedly received the substances is four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, the British distance runner who has trained under Salazar. Farah maintained Sunday that he has always competed cleanly and never broken anti-doping rules, countering any association with "allegations of drug misuse."
According to the report obtained by the Times, Salazar gave athletes infusions of the chemical L-carnitine, a naturally produced amino acid that can be medically prescribed as a supplement for heart and muscle disorders. It is not a banned substance for athletes, but infusions of more than 50 milliliters over a span of six hours are prohibited.
The USADA documents were leaked to the Times by "Fancy Bears," the Russian-based hacking group that also posted confidential WADA information about famous American Olympic athletes last year.
In a statement posted on his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, Farah said it is "deeply frustrating" to be forced to respond when he has "done nothing wrong."
"I am a clean athlete who has never broken the rules in regards to substances, methods or dosages and it is upsetting that some parts of the media, despite the clear facts, continue to try to associate me with allegations of drug misuse," said Farah, who won Olympic gold medals at 5,000 and 10,000 meters in 2012 and 2016.
Farah also questioned the motivations of those publishing information suggesting any wrongdoing.
"As I've said many times before we all should do everything we can to have a clean sport and it is entirely right that anyone who breaks the rules should be punished," Farah said. "However, this should be done through proper process and if USADA or any other anti-doping body has evidence of wrongdoing they should publish it and take action rather than allow the media to be judge and jury."
.Annoyed I've had to post this today... pic.twitter.com/48UQo8ZjLx— Sir Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) February 26, 2017
In 2011, Lance Armstrong, still a Nike-sponsored athlete at the time, made several trips to Oregon to train with Salazar and former assistant coach and sports science adviser Steve Magness while he was competing as an elite triathlete in Ironman events, among others. Salazar and Magness worked with the disgraced former cyclist on running mechanics and provided workout guidance.
Salazar responded to the report with a statement emailed to multiple media outlets.
"The Times has simply recycled old allegations that have been refuted almost two years ago," he said. "I have clearly and repeatedly refuted allegations directed against me and the Oregon Project. I believe in a clean sport and a methodical, dedicated, approach to training. The Oregon Project will never permit doping and all Oregon Project athletes are required to comply with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules. I do not use supplements that are banned."
Salazar also said in his statement that L-carnitine is a "legal supplement that is not banned by WADA" and that any use of the substance was done within WADA guidelines.
"In this case, to ensure my interpretation of WADA rules was correct, I also communicated in writing with USADA in advance of the use and administration of L-Carnitine with Oregon Project athletes," he said "Oregon Project athletes were then administered L-Carnitine in exactly the same way USADA directed.
"I have voluntarily cooperated with USADA for years and met with them over a year ago. The leaking of information in the press is disturbing, desperate and a denial of due process. I look forward to this unfair and protracted process reaching the conclusion I know to be true."
USADA has never charged Salazar or any athlete or coach at the Nike Oregon Project with a doping violation in relation to this investigation, but also has never formally closed the investigation.
Magness, who currently coaches at the University of Houston and still works with professional athletes, confirmed to ESPN that the use of L-carnitine was one of a number of practices that troubled him during his time at Oregon and eventually led him to speak with the USADA about his concerns. Magness called it "incredibly frustrating" that there has been no closure to the investigation.
The USADA released a statement Sunday, acknowledging that a draft of the report was obtained by Fancy Bears.
"USADA can confirm that it has prepared a report in response to a subpoena from a state medical licensing body regarding care given by a physician to athletes associated with the Nike Oregon Project," USADA spokesman Ryan Madden wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. "It appears that a draft of this report was leaked to the Sunday Times by the Russian state-affiliated hacker group known as Fancy Bears. We understand that the licensing body is still deciding its case and as we continue to investigate whether anti-doping rules were broken, no further comment will be made at this time.
"Importantly, all athletes, coaches and others under the jurisdiction of the World Anti-Doping Code are innocent and presumed to have complied with the rules unless and until the established anti-doping process declares otherwise. It is grossly unfair and reckless to state, infer or imply differently."
ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford and The Associated Press contributed to this report.