About two months ago, Konstanze Klosterhalfen came around the corner in the belly of the Berlin Olympic Stadium. She grinned and looked as if she had spent a few days on vacation. She had shortly before in Berlin undercut a twenty year old German record over 5000 meters by 16 seconds. Klosterhalfen – nickname: Koko – seemed to fly over the blue tartan track with her long hair, the runner-up Alina Reh was the only one who was not outclassed by her.
With such striking superiority, questions arise. In the case of convent havens, they particularly affected their new home base: the Nike Oregon Project in the US. True miracles have been reported about opportunities that exist in no other training center in the world. But where sport speaks of miracles, doping is usually not far off. Konstanz Klosterhalfen knew this on that August day in the Olympic Stadium. That's why she said, "Come over in Oregon and have a look."
Two months later, that's done. The Nike Oregon Project has been history since Friday. "We have decided to end the Oregon Project so that athletes can focus on their training and competition needs," Nike said. The US sports giant responded to the four-year suspension of NOP head coach Alberto Salazar, which could be proven in the period from 2010 to 2014 serious violations of anti-doping rules.
"It is a first important step, above all to protect the current athletes and their achievements, because their and my athletic performance is unfortunately since the last week due to the circumstances in the background," said Klosterhalfen on Friday in a statement. She could understand the step completely.
Also for the German Athletics Association the cause was tricky
But what will become of the runner, who won the bronze medal over 5000 meters at the recent World Athletics Championships in Qatar? The 22-year-old's management did not respond to a daily mirror query on Friday. Klosterhalfen had until recently claimed to have learned nothing of any doping practices. Also, she could only report the best about the Oregon Project. The young woman was very enthusiastic and inspiring their times, but always the doubt clung to. However, Klosterhalfen has never been tested positive for doping. Now it's all over for you in Oregon.
But not just for her, but for a dozen or so world class runners like Sifan Hassan. The Ethiopian starting for the Netherlands won two gold medals in Qatar. Nike did not comment on Friday whether and to what extent the company will support its NOP athletes and coaches and where they will be based.
The hiring of the Nike Oregon Project comes to the athletes at the worst possible time. After all, the Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place next year, the sporting highlight for the athletes.
"As already announced at the World Championships in Doha, I am looking for intensive talks with Konstanze Klosterhalfen and her management to optimally prepare for the Olympic Games," said Idriss Gonschinska. The director general of the German Athletics Association (DLV) emphasized that Klosterhalfen decides independently how to proceed. "In my opinion, it is important to find the best solution, not the fastest."
From the reactions of the German Athletics Association (DLV) to the case relief was heard. "For me, the decision to end the Oregon Project after the Salazar lock, a logical decision in the interests of athletes and the sport," said about DLV President Jürgen Kessing. The cause for the DLV is tricky. Nike is the general contractor of the association, the contract runs until 2028.
Just a few months ago, the mood at the DLV was different. As a kind of knighthood it was judged that a German runner counted among the illustrious circle of the top athletes of the training center in Oregon. And for the ambitious monks' halves, the appointment to the Oregon Project had made a dream come true. But from week to week the alleged accolade turned into a nightmare.