One of the world’s leading track and field coaches is to be investigated by the US Center for SafeSport after multiple complaints of sexual misconduct were made against him, the Guardian can reveal.
Rana Reider has earned a glittering reputation in the sport after guiding several Olympic and world champions to glory, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympic 200m gold medallist Andre de Grasse and the world triple jump champion Christian Taylor.
The American also trains numerous other elite athletes, including Britain’s Adam Gemili and Daryll Neita, from his Florida-based Tumbleweed Track Club. However, the 51-year-old American’s behaviour off the track is to be scrutinised by the US Center for SafeSport organisation, a powerful and independent body that handles investigations and complaints into abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports.
The Guardian has also learned that the allegations against Reider have led to UK Athletics warning Gemili and Neita to cease contact with their renowned coach or their membership into the World Class Programme, including lottery funding, will be suspended. A similar message has been conveyed to other British athletes who were considering moving to the US to train under Reider.
Contacted by the Guardian on Tuesday, Reider denied knowledge of the SafeSport investigation and said he had not been told of UK Athletics’ instruction to Gemili and Neita. “You can call my lawyer because this is news to me,” he added. Reider’s lawyer, Ryan Stephens, said the allegations against his client were “unvetted” and “unproven”. “SafeSport hasn’t issued a notice of allegations to Rana,” he told the Guardian.
“The suspicious timing and motives attached to these unproven attacks on Rana’s reputation need to be fully investigated and vetted, and they haven’t been.” It is understood the warning to Gemili and Neita came about after UKA took advice from its Standards, Ethics and Rules Committee.
Both athletes were then sent a letter, which told them that UKA does not feel it is appropriate for them to continue to be associated with Reiner at the present time. In a statement, UKA told the Guardian: “As part of UK Athletics commitment to ensuring appropriate conduct is consistent across all areas without any exceptions, we completed additional due diligence where issues have been raised about the support personnel of UK athletes.
“Following information from the US Center for SafeSport that multiple complaints of sexual misconduct have been made against Coach Rana Reider and that an investigation in the US is imminent, UK Athletics has informed UK athletes currently being coached by him to cease all association until the conclusion of this process.” Reiner has guided Gemili for most of his career, during which time the popular 28-year-old athlete has broken 10 seconds for 100m and 20sec for 200m and inspired Britain’s relay team to world championship 4x100m relay gold and silver medals in 2017 and 2019.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Neita had a breakthrough year in 2021, running under 11sec for 100m for the first time, reaching the Olympic final and winning 4x100m relay bronze at Tokyo Olympics. On its website the US Center for SafeSport says that its mission is “dedicated solely to ending sexual, physical, and emotional abuse on behalf of athletes everywhere” – and that it is “authorised by Congress to help abuse prevention, education, and accountability take root in every sport, on every court”.
In July 2021 the centre issued an indefinite ban on the coach Alberto Salazar for sexual misconduct and emotional misconduct violations. Reider, who is regarded as a brilliant technical sprint coach, joined UKA after London 2012 after a long US collegiate career to initially oversee the sprints, sprint hurdles, horizontal jumps and relay programmes. He worked with a group of athletes that included Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Dwain Chambers and Richard Kilty before leaving in 2014. After departing UKA he criticised some British athletes, saying: “Maybe they get comfortable. Maybe they get the funding. Maybe they’re big fish in a small pond and that’s the way they like it.”
SafeSport has been contacted for comment.