Britain’s Mo Farah, one of the very best distance runners in athletics history, wrote one of the finest chapters in his illustrious history in winning the 10,000m Olympic gold in Rio 2016.
Farah – who remarkably hasn’t been beaten over this distance since 2011 – held off a cadre of Ethiopian and Kenyan runners to sprint home with a blistering final lap of 55 seconds. (Remember that the 10,000m distance equates to 26 laps of the track…) But what sets Farah’s achievement above even his own lofty standards is that fact that he fell onto the track halfway through the race after getting tangled up with another runner, the US’s Galen Rupp.
Here’s Farah on what went through his mind as he hit the ground: “When I fell down,” he said, “I was just thinking, ‘Try to get up, try to get up. Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic.’ And then I got up. And I tried to just get through it … I managed to get my rhythm. Mentally I was thinking, Is the race down, is the race done? And I said no. NO. I trained too hard.”
“Is the race done? No. I trained too hard.” That recognition of the commitment it takes to get to this level, and the absolute refusal to give up, are hallmarks of so many of the “best players” profiled on this site.
Farah exemplifies the qualities of a true champion as well as anyone in the world.