Former US running prodigy Mary Cain to represent Ireland

Former World Junior champion settled lawsuit against Alberto Salazar for emotional abuse

The former US distance running prodigy Mary Cain has completed her transfer of allegiance to Ireland, and according to World Athletics is eligible for international selection from earlier this month.

Now aged 27, Cain was considered a generational talent when she was in high school in the US and qualified for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow as a 17-year-old.

She was also the World Junior champion in the 3,000m in 2014.

She has spoken before about having family ties in Kilkenny and also Westmeath.


According to the World Athletics profile, Cain changed her eligibility from the USA to Ireland from February 16th.

Last November, Cain settled a $20m lawsuit against disgraced coach Alberto Salazar and Nike alleging she had suffered years of emotional abuse.

She was a part of the Nike Oregon Project and was coached by Salazar from the age of 16.

She also qualified for the 2016 Olympics before her career started to unravel,

In 2019 she told the New York Times that rather than nurturing her talent, Salazar’s behaviour led her to self-harm and to harbour thoughts of taking her own life.

Although she hasn’t competed on the international stage for several seasons it would appear Cain still has ambitions of representing Ireland on the global stage.

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Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics