Former Bronxville track star says Nike coach forced her to take pills to stay in shape

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A Bronxville track phenom, who was the youngest track and field athlete to make a world championship team, says she was forced to take pills to stay in shape.

Mary Cain shared the story of her dramatic rise and fall in a New York Times opinion video Thursday. In it, she blasts Nike's Oregon Project and the program's longtime coach Alberto Salazar.

"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," says Cain.

Cain says Salazar set an arbitrary goal weight for her, and wanted her to take diuretics and birth control pills. As a result, Cain says she stopped getting her period for three years and broke five bones. She says when she didn't make weight, Salazar would publicly shame her.

"I felt so scared, I felt so alone, and I felt so trapped and I started to have suicidal thoughts," says Cain.

Cain, now 23 years old, says this is part of a systemic crisis in women's sports.

Megan Young, from Nanuet, ran against Cain in high school. She says, "I think what Mary did was awesome because it opens up the conversation. It hasn't been spoken about very often and it's unfortunate that something so terrible had to-- like Mary's experiences were so awful-- but it did open up this conversation of female health and mental health."

Just last month, Nike announced that it was closing the Oregon Project. Shortly after, Salazar received a four-year doping ban.

 

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