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Jager even saw the dark side of success this summer with a report from Fancy Bears, a Russian website that hacked into the IAAF site and released blood reports from several track and field athletes around the world.
Jager’s name appeared on the list with an “abnormal blood passport” in late June, just before he was headed to Europe for racing, training and the world championships.
On a podcast from LetsRun.com, Jager explained what happened as this: The test was from June 2016 when he was doing altitude training in Park City, Utah, with his Nike teammates to prepare for the Olympics. He was there almost a month, so the blood test showed an abnormal amount of red blood cells, which help the body carry oxygen. The IAAF computer flagged Jager’s blood as suspect, but the next step was to have a doctor examine it. When the doctor discovered Jager had been training at altitude, he was cleared.
Jager asked the IAAF for a document stating he was cleared. He wanted to publish it online so the public could see for itself. Jager said the IAAF told him it may send him something but asked that he not make it public. He could show only his agent and sponsors.
A few days after that was released, Jager quit reading posts online and refocused on the world championships.
“I’m sure there’s some people who thought I was cheating regardless, just because I was running fast times,” Jager said. “There’s always skeptics out there. There’s also a small number who don’t think I was cheating but saw the (Fancy Bears) release and can’t forget about it and might still think I’m cheating.”
Jager said it meant everything to have numerous athletes and track people approach him in Europe saying they never suspected him of doing anything wrong.
“I’ve had multiple professional athletes on the elite circuit that I know, but they’re not a part of my team, come up and say, ‘I totally trust you. There’s no way I believe you’re doing anything sketchy,’ ” Jager said. “That was really reassuring and helpful. It weighed on me for two or three weeks right after, but then I started getting focused on the world championships and haven’t thought about it much.”