Mo Farah became Britain’s most successful distance athlete of all time after securing gold at the 5,000m in Rio on Sunday. Victory places Farah as only the second ever athlete to secure the ‘double double’, wins over 5,000m and 10,000m in consecutive Olympic Games, further inscribing his name in the history books.
After a series of eventful races leading up to the final – the 33-year-old was tripped on route to 10,000m gold last weekend and clipped during a tense heat on Wednesday – Farah looked in control throughout the race, culminating, as ever, in a thrilling kick.
Moving into the final 400m, Farah held the curve despite attention from American Paul Chelimo and Hagos Gebrhiwet. The US runner pushed the Olympic champion hard, forcing Farah to really accelerate over the last stretch.
Farah crossed the line in 13:03:3 0– more than 20 seconds slower than his time at the IAAF Diamond League Meeting – but completed his final lap in 52.83, a remarkable finish and one that insured he became the second athlete, along with the Flying Finn, Lasse Virento, to complete the double double.
Reflecting on the race, and the speed with which the Ethiopians set out, Farah said: “I was surprised by the first lap. I thought it was going to be a slow race. They had a plan, they wanted to take the sting out of me but when I hit the front, I wasn’t letting anyone past me.”
“I can’t believe it. My legs were a bit tired after the 10k – I don’t know how I recovered. People were bringing me food in my hotel room. But I hate to lose. Even in PE, I hated losing. I have that drive – it’s just me. I can’t quite believe it. I wished for just one medal as a junior. It has been a long journey, but if you dream of something, have ambitions and are willing to work hard, then you can get your dreams.”
The race also saw Andrew Butchart underline his potential with a sizeable PB of 13:08:61 – five seconds quicker than the Scottish 5,000m he set in late May – to take an impressive sixth place. Butchart was delighted with is performance and is already looking ahead: "I am over the moon. I have no idea what I could do next, but it is looking good. This is my first majors and it went really well. I just hope I can keep going and progressing.”