Toxic Environment “Pressured Athlete Into Weight Loss”

“I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike.”

Mary Cain was the youngest American runner to turn professional. In 2013, she joined Nike’s Oregon Project, run by coach Alberto Salazar.

In a series of interviews, Cain has revealed that the pressures of the Oregon Project resulted in some serious health issues. She broke multiple bones, her period stopped for three years, she self-harmed, and she suffered from suicidal thoughts.

I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever. Instead I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto and endorsed by Nike.

You can read about Cain’s experience in this Guardian report. You can also watch her tell her story in this New York Times video:

Mary’s story highlights the need for sport to embed safeguarding adults in both community and performance settings.

Organisations need to create a safe culture where everyone is able to take part, free from abuse and neglect.

For more information on best practice, take a look at our free safeguarding resources.