Mo Farah an extraordinary talent who symbolises post-fact world of suspicion
Belief will be suspended by many as Briton goes for his fourth Olympic gold
Mo Farah is going for gold number four. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Mo Farah has become one of the symbols of the post-fact world of cheating and suspicion. These are the post-fact Olympics where facts need not necessarily be true.
The British runner, who has never tested positive for a banned substance sets out in today’s 5,000m final with many believing he is guilty of something.
Nobody really knows quite what but that is what these Games have become. While we can’t accuse, we can suspend our belief.
Farah is one of the best middle distance runners of all time and is now seeking to complement the two gold medals he won in London with a second golden double in Rio.
He has already won the 10,000m and in tonight’s final he will be favourite to bring his Olympic tally to four wins.
Unfortunately, Jama Aden, a Somali coach who was recently arrested by Spanish police after being found in possession of performance enhancing drugs, used to work with Farah and was “an unofficial facilitator” for Britain’s Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion when he trained in Ethiopia in 2015.
So the funky smell is there.
The coach, whose Ethiopian runner Genzebe Dibaba is the 1,500m world record holder, was charged with having administered athletes with banned substances .
The story, reported in Spannish newspaper El País, quoted the Catalan interior minister, Jordi Jané, saying that the banned blood booster EPO was found in six rooms along with anabolic steroids and 60 syringes.
British Athletics rushed to distance Farah from the coach, saying that Aden’s role was to shout out times as Farah did laps around a track in the Ethiopian town of Sululta last year.
However, it didn’t stop there as Farah was also photographed with Aden in February when he trained in Ethiopia.
So you can see where this is all leading. Farah is being tried in the court of public opinion for being associated with an alleged dope peddler.
He, along with the Russians, who have been allowed to compete in Rio, and others such as American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who was suspended twice for drug infractions, have been grouped together. The suspected.
Farah had to literally pick himself up in the 10,000m when he was tripped by his training partner Galen Rupp before going on to become the first British track and field athlete to win three gold medals.
He is an extraordinary runner who faced a number of hurdles to win the third of his medals, including the assembled power of Kenya’s best trying to wear him down and the final kick of his rival Paul Tanui.
But in a thrilling Olympic final, the Somali-born Brit even had time to put his hands on top of his head in the trademark “Mobot” sign.
So he is worth watching for a number of reasons. He is the best over the distance and the man to beat when the race kicks off at 2.30am Irish time on Sunday morning.
He is also hoping to equal the feat of the famous Lasse Viren, the only man to have won a double-double of Olympic 5000m and 10,000m races.
Viren was a policeman from a small town in Finland, who became a moderately successful national politician.
But for a few days in 1972 – and again in 1976 – Viren, like Farah, was the greatest middle distance athlete in the world. He too courted some controversy as he never showed top form except during bigger races and the Olympic Games.
Farah’s biggest threats are likely to come from the Ethiopians Muktar Edris and Dejen Gebremeskel, who coasted through their 5,000m heat in second and third.
Edris has run the second and fourth fastest 5,000m times this year, breaking 13 minutes on both occasions.
He presents the biggest danger having also won Diamond League races in Shanghai and Eugene in Oregon.
Whatever you believe, the speed at which they run the distance will be truly jaw dropping.