World champion Mo Farah produced a 52.9 final lap to win the Olympic 5000m title for Britain’s fourth gold medal of the Games
Mo Farah tonight joined illustrious company as he completed the 5000m and 10,000m double. He follows in the footsteps of Kenenisa Bekele in 2008, Miruts Yifter in 1980, Lasse Viren in 1972 and 1976, Vladimir Kuts in 1956 and Emil Zatopek in 1952 as the only athletes to complete the long-distance double in post-war Olympic history. And to think Farah went out in the 5000m heats four years ago!
Farah displayed the best sprint finish in the 10,000m and the greatest prowess on the last lap at the World Championships last year so the early-pace played right into his hands. The pace for most of the final was slower than it was in the heats until Dejen Gebremeskel and Yenew Alamirew, who are both ranked inside the world’s all-time top-ten for 5000m, injected a series of 61-second and 62-second laps in the third and fourth kilometres.
Farah moved onto the shoulder of the Ethiopians with three laps to go. As noted by the commentators, Farah is in his element when he’s at the front with 600m to go and nobody made a marked effort to get ahead of him. This is where he started his bid for his second gold medal of the Games.
Even if someone got in front of Farah, it would have been a tough ask to defeat the gold medallist from the 10,000m as he covered the last lap in 52.9 which is impressive finishing-speed regardless of the sedate early pace.
Farah had to battle down the home straight but it never really looked like he was going to lose his winning position. He crossed the line in 13:41.66 ahead of world-leader Gebremeskel in 13:41.98. Thomas Longosiwa, perhaps the lesser of the three Kenyans before the Games, claimed bronze in 13:42.36.
After winning his second gold medal, Farah said: “It’s unbelievable. Two gold medals, who would have thought that?”
“I didn’t feel great in the heats, but it was pretty good. The American guy tried to come past me but I knew I just had to hold on.’
He concluded: “It’s been a long journey of grafting and grafting.”
For the next few weeks, Farah will be preoccupied with life away from the track. His wife is due to give birth to twins very soon and he also plans to host a charity auction to raise money for the Mo Farah Foundation.
However, he’s due to run in the Birmingham Diamond League at the end of the month before the Great North Run in September.