LONDON – Great Britain’s Mo Farah won his fourth Olympic gold as he became only the second man to retain the 5,000m and 10,000m titles, extending his tally as Britain’s most successful Olympic track and field athlete of all time.
“It shows I didn’t just fluke it in London. To do it again is incredible. I can’t believe it,” said jubilant Farah early on Sunday, August 21.
Farah won in 13 minutes 3.30 seconds, giving Britain its 27th gold in Rio and their 65th medal.
Winning gold in 10,000m race, Farah cemented his place as one of Britain’s greatest athletes with his double success four years ago.
Repeating the feat in 2012 and 2016, he became one of the world’s most successful distance runner in terms of major medals.
“My legs were a bit tired after the 10k, I don’t know how I recovered,” he told BBC Sport. “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 British athlete, a practicing Muslim, usually performs sujud prayer after each race.
He is now a nine-time global champion, moving him above Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele.
Farah had already achieved the World Championships ‘double double’, successfully defending his 10,000m and 5,000m titles in Beijing last year.
For many, Farah’s prayer can help counter the damaging stereotypes of Muslims held by many around the world, with his Muslim faith being central to his excellence in sport.
Farah’s achievement was widely applauded by many commentators and Olympian athletes.
“What a moment. What a privilege to see this man collect a fourth Olympic medal in style. He did it the only way he knows how,” said Brendan Foster, Olympic medallist and BBC athletics commentator
“Mo, you are a treasure. You are more than a national treasure. You are the greatest we have ever had and one of the greatest distance runners we have ever seen.”
Denise Lewis, BBC Sport athletics expert, praised the athlete’s achievement during the past few years.
“It has been a privilege to see how he has progressed from that junior athlete who did not quite make it to this amazing athlete. But the decisions he has made over the last few years, to move to America and do what is needed to achieve success, shows how absolutely committed he is.”
Paula Radcliffe, women’s marathon world record holder, added, “Mo does not believe he will be beaten. He sees no reason why he can’t be competitive in every race he competes in.”
In another field, Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria took home the silver medal in 1500m race, crossing the finish line .11 seconds after US player Matthew Centrowitz.
This is the second medal for the Algerian Muslim athlete who also won the silver medal in 800m race.