A fired-up Mo Farah was determined that no one would deny him a fourth Olympic gold medal as he completed the long-distance double at a second straight Games by storming to 5,000 metres glory in Rio on Saturday night.
A week after picking himself off the track following a trip to claim 10,000m gold, Farah avoided any such drama and burst clear down the home straight to cross the line in 13 minutes 3.30 seconds.
Mentally I had to be on top of my game, the guys were out there to get me. You’re a targetMO FARAH
He produced a scorching final lap of 52.83secs to hold off American Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo, who came home in 13:03.90 and was finally awarded silver after a raft of disqualifications and reinstatements. Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia got bronze.
Victory saw 33-year-old Farah become only the second man after “Flying Finn” Lasse Viren to win both long-distance track titles at two Olympics. His four Olympic titles took him past the three won by Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele and is twice as many as any other British track and field athlete has won.
The Briton has now won nine straight global titles in a run of utter domination stretching back to 2011.
“It means so much to me, I can’t believe I did it,” said Farah. “I dreamt of being Olympic champion once, and then I did it in London and that was incredible. And then four years later to do it again – there are no words to really describe it. To come back year after year and do it is pretty amazing.”
He expected this latest challenge to be the toughest yet, braced for the Ethiopian trio of Muktar Edris, Dejen Gebremeskel and Gebrhiwet to try to tire him out early in the race in a bid to neutralise his finishing speed. But the Londoner’s tactical nous has got him out of sticky situations in the past, while his winning streak on the biggest stage intimidates rivals.
Farah, with his loping stride, was keen to stay out of trouble early on as the Ethiopians set a quick pace at the front. He moved up to second with five laps to go and 200m later hit the front.
Gebrhiwet looked to challenge him at the bell as the race turned into a last-lap burn-up, but there remains no one who can match Farah’s speed over the final 400m. He spread his arms wide as he crossed the line to acclaim victory.
“Mentally I had to be on top of my game, the guys were out there to get me,” Farah said. “I may make it look easy, but it’s not as easy as you see it. It’s tough, the guys make it tough. You’re a target.”
Farah, who plans to move to road racing after next year’s World Championships in London, had stated ahead of the race that he needed this fourth gold for his son Hussein, with his three others dedicated to his older three children.
He dedicated his two Olympic golds from London 2012 to twin daughters Aisha and Amani, who were born shortly after those successes, and said his 10,000m gong in Rio was for oldest daughter Rhianna. And the last member of the Farah brood has not been left out.
“There was only one to go and that’s what motivated me,” he said. “Now all my four kids have got one medal each and when I’m one day gone they will have something.”