London 2012 Olympics: Mo Farah insists ‘I knew I had it in me’
Mo FARAH has told how “everything just came together for me” as he became double Olympic champion on another thrilling Saturday night in London.
Speaking the morning after he added the 5,000m gold to his 10,000m title won last weekend, Farah felt all his hard work had finally paid off.
He said double gold was a fitting comeback from the “big disappointment” of failing to make a final in Beijing four years ago, but added he could not have done it without the deafening support of the crowd.
“As an athlete you dream of becoming an Olympic champion but, for me, to become Olympic champion twice is just an unbelievable feeling,” said Farah.
“If it wasn’t for the crowd I don’t think I would have been up there, for sure. They make a big difference. In front of 80,000 people just cheering your name and getting louder and louder, it’s the best feeling ever. It’s just like being at a football game.”
He said he felt he was able to dictate Saturday’s race and “knew I had it in me” to be first over the finish line.
On his remarkable progress over the last four years, Farah added: “It’s been a lot of hard work and grafting. In Beijing, for me it was really disappointing. I had to move forward and recover and get into my running again, and then last year I made the big decision to move to the US. That was never easy. Something needed to change.
“There is a decision in your career you have to make. I’m glad I made that decision, and it just shows you it works.
“But a lot of miles have gone into these legs, week in, week out, over 100 miles. Sometimes I’d be hitting 120 miles, so it just shows you it’s hard work. There are no short-cuts, just hard work and grafting.”
Farah took advantage of a slow race to hit the front with 700m remaining and was never headed, covering the last lap in under 53 seconds to hold off Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel to win in 13mins 41.66sec. Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya claimed bronze.
The 29-year-old therefore added his name to the illustrious group of men who had previously taken the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the same Games – Hannes Kolehmainen of Finland in 1912, Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia in 1952, Vladimir Kuts of the USSR in 1956, Finland’s Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976, Miruts Yifter in 1980 and his fellow Ethiopian, Kenenisa Bekele, at Beijing four years ago.
Farah also won the double at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010, but still opted to move his family to Oregon the following year to train full-time with former New York Marathon winner Alberto Salazar. “I’m glad it paid off. When I was moving to America, people were saying everything’s going so well, so 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,” he added.
Asked what his achievements in London mean to him overall, Farah said: “To be double Olympic champion, to be on the podium, it’s the best thing. There is no word to describe it because all the work, all the sacrifices, all the things you put into it, it’s just unbelievable.”
Farah’s victory meant Britain won four track and field golds for only the third time since the Second World War – matching the haul from Tokyo in 1964 and Moscow in 1980 – although with six in total, they fell short of the target of eight set by UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee.
Yesterday, Sebastian Coe hailed Farah’s gold double. He said: “What Mo did last night was of such an extraordinary magnitude. The real challenge of doing the double is not actually the physicality of going through rounds and races, it’s those three to four days between having won an Olympic title and then deciding it’s still important enough in your life to come back on to the track and do it all over again. It’s probably tougher mentally than physically.”
While some questioned if Farah could produce the goods for a second time following his exertions in the 10,000m and the heats of the 5,000m, Coe had little doubt the Briton would have another medal around his neck.
“There is a moment in a career of an athlete when they’re just not going to get beaten,” he added. “You’re very lucky if you hold that period for 18 months. John Walker had it, Steve Ovett had it, Steve Cram had it. All the great athletes have it. Mo is in that period now. I think he goes into races genuinely believing he’s going to win. The reverse of that means the rest of the field, whether they admit it publicly or even in their quieter moments, think they’re running for second place.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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