- Associated Press - Sunday, June 28, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - An upset Kara Goucher took exception at being called a liar by Alberto Salazar after her former coach went public to clear his name over doping allegations.

The distance runner struck back Sunday after her 5,000-meter race at nationals, saying she “welcomes the opportunity” to testify and has been talking to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency since 2013. USADA has launched an investigation into allegations that Salazar encouraged Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp and others in his stable of elite runners to skirt anti-doping rules, The Associated Press recently learned.

A story by ProPublica and BBC earlier this month contained allegations by Goucher and former Salazar assistant Steve Magness that Salazar pushed the envelope with doping rules. The 56-year-old coach responded Wednesday to doping claims by publishing a 12,000-word letter online disputing the allegations, saying the Oregon Project he leads “will never permit doping.”

Salazar devoted significant space in his document to explaining his relationship with Goucher her husband, Adam, also an elite distance runner.

“I don’t like being labeled a liar,” Goucher said. “I want people to like me. But my love for the sport is much stronger than my passion to have people like me.”

Goucher said she decided to come forward to doping authorities in February 2013 after watching Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. She appreciated the response of USADA chief Travis Tygart, who pursued the case against Armstrong when others had stopped. Goucher told her husband to line up an interview with Tygart.

“Seven days later I was in his office talking to him,” Goucher said. “This is a burden I’ve been carrying around for years. I didn’t want to have to share it. I don’t wish ill will on people. But I care about clean sport.

“I want my son to be able to believe in the sport and the system. I want USADA to show they work. I want justice for everyone involved.”

So far, Goucher has avoided bumping into Salazar at nationals. She said her career hasn’t been threatened by anyone, but added that other people “have been threatened at this meet. I hope they come forward.”

She didn’t elaborate.

Salazar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Goucher told the BBC that when she ran for Salazar, he encouraged her to take the thyroid drug Cytomel to lose weight in 2011 after the birth of her son. She said Salazar knew she did not have a prescription for Cytomel.

In his letter, Salazar said he was “thrilled with Kara’s weight, body composition and fitness in 2011.” He added that his issues were with her husband.

“I’m being dragged through the mud,” Goucher said. “I’m still here. I’m still going to keep racing. I stand by my statements and always will.”

In her race Sunday, Goucher was relying on a late surge to earn a spot at world championships later this summer.

Wasn’t there. Too emotionally spent as the strain of the last few weeks caught up with her. She finished in 18th place, nearly a minute behind winner Nicole Tully.

“I’ve really tried hard to build a wall between myself and the situation,” said Goucher, who was wearing a horseshoe pendant around her neck for good luck, a Mother’s Day present from her son. “Today, I’m very, very tired. I feel like I can go to bed for five days. But I won’t because I have to give my side of the truth.”

Goucher didn’t want to say much about two-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah or Rupp remaining with the group.

“They have their truth and have their reasons,” she said. “My experience is my experience. I can only share that.”

Salazar, who won the 1982 Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon three straight times from 1980-82, went public to clear his name on the eve of nationals.

In his memo, Salazar said Goucher suffers from the same thyroid disease as Rupp, and that she introduced Rupp to the first endocrinologist who treated him. Thyroid medication is not banned under anti-doping rules, though there’s some evidence that it can help improve performance.

Rupp said he’s got “nothing to hide.”

“I’ve been tested a lot the last couple years,” said Rupp, who won the 10,000 on Thursday and finished third in the 5,000 on Sunday. “That’s nothing new for me. Again, we believe in clean sport so we’re happy to do all that. We just do whatever they say.”

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