Saturday, 11 August 2012

Fulfilling His Destiny

Did you see the expressions on the faces of Mo Farah and his defeated rivals after that epic 5,000 metres race? Mo looked absolutely at peace with himself, a young man who had fulfilled his destiny, the historic 'double' of gold medals in both the 10,000 metres and this distance. The Ethiopian and Kenyan runners who came second and third had shock etched into their features; they just couldn't believe what he had done to them. I have never seen siver and bronze medal winners look so disappointed with their results.

I am old enough to have watched Zatopek, Kuts and Viren, the first three runners to achieve this feat in the modern era. Their victories were nothing like so impressive, because they dominated their rivals from the gun. Zatopek and Kuts led out, Viren lurked with a menace that left no-one in any doubt that he alone could burn off the rest with a blistering last lap. Mo's victory was always so much on a knife-edge that it was hard to believe it possible until he broke the tape. I can never remember any distance runner hold off persistent challenges from just behind him for the whole of the last lap.

Afterwards, like the world record-breaker David Rudesha, Mo was modest and self-effacing, giving the credit to others. I hate to say it, but they both made Usain Bolt look a bit cheap.

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