Mary Cain was 16 years old when she got a phone call. She had noticed Alberto Salazar: "The most famous athletics coach called and told me that I was the fastest girl he had ever seen." So Mary Cain, now 23, the "New York Times" told. And even though Salazar, recently banned by the US Anti-Doping Agency for four years, denies everything his former athlete says about him and his methods, he's hardly going to disagree.
Mary Cain trained with Salazar and Nike in Oregon. It was her nightmare. Her coaches, all men, had told her to get thinner and thinner and thinner. She had missed her period for three years, having suffered five broken bones due to the estrogen deficiency. Finally she started to hurt herself. She was abused, physically and emotionally.
More courage, more women
Cain says she is the victim of a system in which men seize young women to profile their accomplishments. She wishes, apart from the processing of doping allegations against Salazar and the settlement of Nikes Oregon Project, more nutritionists, psychologists, coaches. As I said, Salazar denies all that. Which is certainly true: more courage. More women. It would be a start.
But not always the solution, as it turns out, if, for example, the globe turns a little. And look at how Russian skating teenagers do an art show. More and more, always higher. And always younger. Anna Schtscherbakowa, 15 years old, recently jumped in a freestyle as the first two quadruple Lutz jumps. For the most part, the jump miracles come from the Moscow school of Eteri Tutberidse, who boasts that she does not feel sorry for her athletes.
How did the then World Champion Yevgenia Medvedeva say at the Olympic Games last winter? "When we hit the ice, it's sport. Real sport. Sport is war. "A quarter-year later, she said goodbye to her trainer Tutberidse and went to the Canadian Brian Orser. Soon she will be 20 years old – and four, five years older than the competitors from Moscow, who set new records.
Not even twenty, but slowly but surely too old? It is freezing cold under the runners. Without the conscious willingness to cynicism, this can hardly be tolerated: gold medals are distributed for unscrupulousness, in figure skating and elsewhere. Not only is there a lack of courage to change that. But also.