Mo Farah of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya in the Men's 5000m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Taking the lead with 700 metres remaining, the 29-year-old fended off a stiff challenge to take the first Olympic 5000m title for Great Britain, exactly one week after winning the host nation’s first 10,000m title.
"It’s unbelievable! Two gold medals," Farah said. "Who would have thought that?"
The capacity crowd of these Games final track session certainly believed, judging by the mighty roar that grew impossibly louder with each passing step over the final two laps. And the noise continued as he came to grips with his achievement with an unlikely celebration that included kissing the track, pointing at the sky, high fiving fans and volunteers, and a set of sit-ups. He could have done anything and it would have fit perfectly for Farah who, along with sprint superstar Usain Bolt, will provide some of the most inspiring and indelible memories and images of the London Games.
In the 10,000m, he showed that he can’t be outkicked in a tactical contest, and he underscored that in the 5000m, a distance he’s already conquered at the World Championships last year. His competitors were quick to share their praise.
"There’s not many people like him out there," said Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa, a finalist four years ago and bronze medallist tonight.
"He won both races in front of his home crowd," said training partner Galen Rupp, the runner-up behind Farah in the 10,000m and finished seventh in this race. "There couldn’t have been more pressure on him and he dealt with that."
"Everybody knew he was the favourite and everyone knew they were going to run against the favourite, but he beat us all," said Bernard Lagat, the 2007 World champion who closed fast to finish fourth. But nobody could finish as fast at Farah, who surely sensed in the latter stages of the race that everything was working his way.
Dawdling opening laps led to sluggish opening kilometres of 2:55 and 3:01 (5:56.70 at 2000 metres), causing plenty of pushing, shoving and jockeying for position over the ensuing laps. Running in mid-pack in the early stages, Farah moved up to third with just over two laps to go before taking the lead 100 metres later. Kenyans Longosiwa and Isiah Koech, Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel And Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider, the 1500m bronze medallist, gave chase.
The clock read 12:49 when Farah passed the bell – note that his 5000m PB is 12:53.11 – but he had already upped the tempo dramatically. Running a furiously fast backstretch, he carried his two-step lead through the turn and into the final stretch, where the sound of the crowd would reach a pitch not heard at these, or perhaps any, Olympic Games.
Farah forged on, and easily held off Gebremeskel by more than three-tenths of a second at the line in 13:41.66. By the time Kenyan Longosiwa came through to take the bronze, Farah was already beginning the celebration the host nation had so desperately been hoping for.
"I was confident but I had to dig in," said Farah, who dedicated his two medals to the twin girls he and his wife are expecting within the next two weeks. "The crowd really gave that extra boost."
Gebremeskel, who has recently elevated himself to the status of Ethiopian No. 1 in the event, was visibly disappointed.
"It was a good race but we made mistakes," the runner-up, who arrived in London as the world leader at 12:46.81, said. "We planned to make the race but we didn’t do that. I also made a mistake. I stayed in the pack and struggled to get out easily. I won bronze medal at the World Championships and now I am Olympic silver medallist. But I should have won this gold. I knew I had the energy and the ability to do so. But mistakes cost me a lot."
Indeed, particularly with someone the likes of Farah in the race.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
- Mo Farah of Great Britain crosses the finish line to win gold ahead of Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia and Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa of Kenya in the Men's 5000m Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Mo Farah of Great Britain holds a Union flag as he celebrates winning gold in the Men's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Mo Farah of Great Britain enjoys being Olympic Champion of the Men's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
- Mo Farah of Great Britain leads the pack and run for gold in the Men's 5000m Final of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 11, 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright