Mo Farah dedicates 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic gold medals to unborn twin daughters
Mo Farah swept into Olympic history in London on Saturday night, dedicating a golden double sealed with victory in the 5,000 metres to his unborn twin daughters, who are due any day.
In perhaps the most remarkable atmosphere ever witnessed in a British sporting arena, Farah triumphed over the finest distance runners in the world to add a second Olympic title to the 10,000?m won seven days earlier.
Accompanied by a rolling Mexican wave of sound, he produced a 52sec final lap to hold off Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa.
Victory made Farah the sixth man in Olympic history to complete the hallowed distance double of 5,000m and 10,000m, and the first Briton to win two gold medals on the track since Kelly Holmes in 2004. He is the first British man since Albert Hill won the middle-distance double in 1920, another age for distance running.
He celebrated with some sit-ups, rivalling Usain Bolt’s press-ups after the 200m final, and then led the 80,000 crowd in a mass MoBot, his head-slapping trademark celebration. Afterwards he said he had been desperate to win a second gold so he had a medal for each of his twin daughters.
“Those medals are for my girls, they are not born yet. It could be any day, the doctors say we have 12 days, but I did not want to leave one out, because they are twins.”
Farah’s wife Tania Nell and his daughter Rhianna were at trackside to greet him as he completed a rapturous lap of honour. He paid tribute to them, and to a crowd that cheered him from the moment he bounced into the arena.
“It was unbelievable, a Mexican wave of sound. I want to thank all my coaches and everyone who has helped me, but particularly my wife. She is carrying twins, it has not been easy because I didn’t want to know. She said she wouldn’t let me know if anything happened.
“It is an unbelievable feeling, the best feeling ever. I never thought coming to London I would be double Olympic champion, it doesn’t come round often. If it wasn’t for the crowd I wouldn’t have run that fast.
“It has been a long journey grafting and grafting, but you know, anything is possible, you just have to work hard and graft.”
Farah said the medals vindicated his decision to move to America and train with coach Alberto Salazar.
“I’m glad it paid off. When I was moving to America people were saying, everything’s going so well, why do you need to do that, but as an athlete you sometimes have to make choices and I’m glad I got the right choice.”
Farah’s victory came in a tactical race that started slowly and only burst into life in the last lap as the field, dominated by three Ethiopians, three Americans and two Kenyans, waited for each other to make a decisive move.
It only burst into life in the final mile when Farah took control, easing to the shoulder of the leading runners and then taking up the running 700m out. Confident in his finishing pace he challenged his opponents to get past him, and for the second time in a week they failed.
“It is just unbelievable,” he said. “I had a lot of confidence going into the race but felt tight in the heats, but it worked out pretty good. It just shows you need speed as well as everything else.
“The American tried to get past me but I knew I had to hold on to it. I got a lot of help from the crowd. I don’t know what’s going on.
“Everything has a time, and it has all worked out well. I am amazed.
“Two gold medals. Who would have thought that?”
His victory was acclaimed by Jonathan Edwards as the greatest by a Briton. “Never felt more emotional at an athletics meeting. The greatest Olympic achievement ever by any British Olympian bar none,” he tweeted.
Farah’s victory takes him into the most elite company in distance running, alongside the greatest European and African runners.
Hannes Kolehmainen of Finland in 1912, the great Emil Zatopek, who also won the marathon at the 1952 Helsinki Games, Russian Vladimir Kuts (1956) and Lasse Viren, who did it twice, in 1972 and 1976, are the historic predecessors.
Kenenisa Bekele provided Farah with a contemporary benchmark. The Ethiopian marvel almost matched Zatopek, taking gold and silver in Athens eight years ago before completing the double in Beijing.
Farah is a truly worthy member of that club, and by many reckonings last night, the greatest British Olympian we have been privileged to witness.