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They Do What Losers Don’t Do.

If he thinks you're messing with his racers your heart might stop too. via

If he thinks you’re messing with his racers your heart might stop too.

Nike coach Alberto Salazar is a poor loser. You’ve heard the saying, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

Al has probably heard it, too.

Is his competitive attitude a surprise? This is the runner who finished marathons, collapsed, and even received last rites.

Fortunately, rumors of Salazar’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

Then he had a heart attack as a coach. 

Is this a man who needs to dial it down a few notches, who needs to step back and see a bigger picture?

This baby boomer is a Nike man. He just does it. He feels the burn. His athletes know he’s got their back, even if doing so puts him on his back.

Is Nike a better company with such a lively force out front?

He’s not the only one.

At the 2014 Indoor Track and Field Championships Mr. Salazar got fired up when he thought his runners received less than fair treatment in races they didn’t win.

His main male runner, Portland and University of Oregon star Galen Rupp, was victimized by runners from another Nike coach. At least Salazar thought he was.

Rupp finished 2nd in his race, good enough to make the U.S. Indoor Team, but not good enough for Alberto who decided he needed to address the problem further.

At the same meet Alberto protested when one of his girls got bumped. After the first protest didn’t work, he protested again, then once more, until the winner was disqualified. Upon further examination, the winner was reinstated which didn’t make Alberto happy.

Since it was a track meet no one met in the parking lot afterward, but it had the same effect.


Update: Jon Gugala has now come out with his own story on the Schumacher-Salazar exchange on RunBlogRun. Gugala’s story is based on the eyewitness account of 3-time Olympic marathoner Lee Troop, who is the coach of women’s 3,000 runner Laura Thweatt. You’ve got to read it as it’s got even more details. His articles includes the following description:

One of Salazar’s “posse” intervened before Salazar made contact (with Schumacher), but Troop says that though Salazar didn’t have a clenched fist, indicating a punch was imminent, there definitely would have been a push.

Troop said Salazar was very much out of control so much so that Troop pushed him away as he feared Salazar was going to hurt Thweatt.” takes it further with their story, “When A Famed Nike Coach Tried To Steal A Race, A Track Protest Was Born.”

Calling Salazar a thief is wrong; saying he does everything he can to put his athletes in the winner’s circle isn’t. Does he go too far? Winners always go too far, that’s the Nike creed, but there is a limit with their athletes.

Will Nike punish Alberto Salazar the way they punished Michael Vick? If you do the crime, be ready to do the time. Salazar isn’t a criminal, Vick is. Michael did the crime, did the time, and Nike cut him from their team. Then they brought him back. A Forbes article explains the details along with a video of Tiger Woods listening to his dead father talk to him.

What could Tiger’s dad say to Alberto Salazar after his son took a turn that cost him his marriage and a few years of primetime golf? Start with, “Calm the heck down, Alberto.”

Tiger’s over-achieving sports life seeped into an over-achieving personal life that cost him millions in endorsement deals. Turns out some companies can’t stomach associating with an athlete carrying such bad press. You can always count on time, and forgetfulness, to heal all wounds. Did Nike cut Tiger? No, they eventually re-signed him to a new contract.


We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Tiger,” said Cindy Davis, president of Nike Golf, in a statement released to “He is one of Nike’s most iconic athletes and has played an integral part in Nike Golf’s growth since the very beginning.

“We look forward to sharing many more of the exciting awe-inspiring sport moments that Tiger is known to create in golf. At the same time, we will continue to utilize his insights to develop the most innovative products that support golfers reaching their full potential.”

Alberto Salazar goes after opponents and coaches in support of his athletes. You’d want him on your side. Vick and Tiger remain with Nike because they’re good for business. It’s a trade-off of second chances and name recognition.

One sports figure with huge name recognition and no second chance is Lance Armstrong. The celebrated biker said he didn’t cheat, then said he did. Nike cut him. They don’t like cheaters. They don’t like liars, either. From

“Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” the company said in a statement. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

Alberto Salazar isn’t responsible for who Nike endorses. He may not like the company he keeps in Vick, Woods, and Armstrong, but he does something they don’t do. He does his work out in the open where all can see.

As a world class competitor he did what he had to do to win. He ran himself into the ground. Now his athletes have a baby boomer coach who knows what it feels like to hit the wall.

Leave it all on the track? It’s more than a platitude.

(originally posted on

About David Gillaspie


  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message
    home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
    A great read. I will certainly be back.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      You know the saying, “win a few, lose a few?” You learn from each, but losing brings a special bump, a lesson to learn from. For every winner you know, they’ve done plenty of losing.

      I like the Michael Jordan saying: “I’ve missed every shot I never took.”

      Take your shot, then take it again, make or miss.


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