Mo Farah Completes The Double & Wins Tactical 5,000 To Send British Crowd Into A Frenzy

August 11, 2012
London, England

Story updated with post-race reaction

Britain's Mo Farah gave the British fans what they wanted - double gold - as for the seventh time in Olympic men's history the same man won the 5,000 and 10,000 at the same Games.

Farah got the gold in 13:44.66 by finishing off a tactical 5000, which featured six guys tightly bunched with 200 meters remaining, to send the home crown into a frenzy as the Olympic stadium erupted. He won after a blistering last lap of 52.94 which finished off a last 1600 of 3:57.47, a last 2000 of 4:58.72 and a last 2400 of 6:01.19 in a 5000 that really was a 2400 meter race after a 2600 meter jog.

Winning the silver was the man many thought would be most likely to challenge Farah, Ethiopia's Dejen Gebremeskel, who came in as the 2012 world leader. Gebremeskel encountered a lot of traffic on the last lap, particularly on the first turn. However he still found himself within striking distance in the last 100 but was unable to make up any ground and took silver in 13:41.98. Kenyan Trials third placer Thomas Longosiwa was third here in 13:42.36.

America's Bernard Lagat, who was right in the thick of things with 200 meters remaining, saw his dream of winning an Olympic medal for his adopted homeland come up a little bit short as he was fourth in 13:42.99 after getting in some contact with 100m to go.

While the night was magical for Farah, his training partner Galen Rupp was left behind when the real kicking started at the bell. He ended up best of the bunch that weren't in the hunt with 200 left as he was seventh in 13:45.04. The third American in the final Lopez Lomong was 10th in 13:48.19.

The Race

The race really was pedestrian for the opening portion. The first half was covered in roughly 7:22 (14:44 pace after an opening 1600 of approximately 4:44. (The 3200 was roughly 9:23). Things would start to get going 100 meters later as the sixth to last lap was run in 62.47 as the Ethiopian duo of Yenew Alamirew and Gebremeskel took turns at the front to keep things honest. The next few laps were all in the 61-62 range - 61.26, 61.21, 62.21, but with 800 meters remaining the entire field was still tightly bunched. With 700 meters to go, it was Farah that went to the lead as the crowd went wild.

But the penultimate lap of 61.10 didn't do much to the field as nearly all of the major players were still in it when they got to the bell as you can see here:

11 guys were still in the lead pack and the entire 15 person field is still visible in the picture. The only big name who was clearly out of it with a lap remaining was Ethiopia's world junior record holder Hagos Gebrhiwet (far left in green) who came in nursing an injury. An IAAF statistician emailed and pointed out that all three of the Ethiopians are still in the main pack in the picture. Gebrhiwet did come in nursing an injury and he did fade on the last lap after challenging briefly but the man in the back at this point was Mumin Gala of Djibouti.

At the bell, the pace picked up and Galen Rupp was left behind by the top eight guys. The other big development that we picked up by watching the race replays was that on the turn the eventual silver medallist, Gebremeskel, was struggling to find an opening. At first, he tried to move outside but ended up coming back and waiting until the homestretch to move up on the rail. Here you can see Gebremeskel in sixth moving up on the rail with 250 remaining:

Heading into the last 190 meters, six guys were all very tightly bunched:

On the homestretch, Farah never gave up his lead. Coming off the turn, Longosiwa was in second. Gebrsemeskel did get by the Kenyan but never Farah, as Farah and Gebremeskel were separated by about three meters the whole final 100.

Mo Farah On His Historic Double

The night belonged to Mo Farah. Completing the double before the home crowd was what he dreamed of. This one was a real battle, but there is no doubting the best distance runner on the planet right now is Mo Farah. He said at the post-race press conference, "As a youngster you dream of becoming an Olympic champion but to do it twice is unbelievable."

This win came down to the wire for Mo and he may have needed the support of the 80,000 strong crowd. "I wasn't thinking about Dejen, I was thinking that no-one was going to pass me. It was just getting louder and louder, really like the Emirates (Arsenal football club's stadium). I only knew I had won it two or three yards from the line."

The crowd was absolutely incredible. During the race, the crowd stood on its feet and cheered loud as the runners went around the stadium. So in essence a wave followed the pack around the Olympic stadium.

Mo, whose wife is expecting twins, joked that he also had the pressure of getting each twin a medal, saying "I got twins, so once I got one (medal), you can't leave the other one out."

After the win, Farah eventually did the MoBot celebration with none other than Usain Bolt.

The other medalists Gebmresekel and Longosiwa knew beating Mo was a difficult task. Gebremeskel was pleased to get a silver. He said the Ethiopian plan was to run a faster pace raced which didn't happen. He told organizers, " "The plan was to make the first 3000m very fast and then to continue with that pace but we didn't push hard and that was why it was so slow."

Longoswia was 12th in the last Olympics, so he was pleased to leave London with a brzone medal. He said, "At the 2008 Olympics I got injured one week before the race. Today is a big ahievement." He also paid respect to some Kenyan greats saying to organizers, "I remember watching (Tegla) Laroupte and Paul Tergat and wishing to be like them. I was looking for the way to go out there and achieve something. Now I have achieved something - I am a bronze medallist."

Americans Come Up Short, LRC Talks to Lagat, Rupp and Lomong

Bernard Lagat leaves his last Olympics without a medal. Lagat who came within feet of winning the 1500m gold medal for Kenya might have left London with a medal accept for getting bumped with 100m to go. Lagat said the race was very physical. He said he would have preferred a smoother race, but nonetheless he liked his chances the last lap.

With 200 to go, Lagat said, "I was very confident."  With 100m to go before he got bumped he said he was ready, to "go as hard as I can. I wasn't sure I was going to pick up anyone but I was like, ''Let me give it my all.'" Lagat said he what he thought happened is he started to move outside just as Iguider moved outside and that resulted in the contact.

Lagat said he almost went down when bumped. He made no excuses and credite Mo Farah for a great race saying, "He knows how to run those type of races. He ran a great race."

Lagat did not seem too disappointed on finishing fourth, but did say, "If I was third I at least would not have gone home empty ended. But it's actually the case I'm going home without a medal. The fourth spot is always the worst one. But I look back and I say I've been them most blessed person in my career... It's not a bad career. I feel like I'm one of the blessed people, I'm not going to complain."

Lagat said this was not the end of his career just his last Olympics "This is my last Olympiocs. It's hard to say I'm not going to be in the Olympics again. Because this is my last one. To be in London, finishing fourth is not a bad thing."

Galen Rupp left his second Olympics with his first Olympic medal, a silver in the 10,000m, the first in the US in a flat long distance event since 1964.

Rupp still left wanting more saying, "I'm always a little disappointed. I felt I had a good chance to medal and to even win. I was planning on hoping to go for it in this race. I just didn't have it in the end. It's pretty simple. I'm not going to try and blame it on this or that.  I just didn't have enough at the finish. I think that 10k took a little bit more out of me than I thought." Galen said it just wasn't physical that the 10k took more out of him "emotionally than anything else." Galen's coach, Alberto Salazar said that Rupp was probably a little bit more tired from the 10k thatn Galen.

As for the slow pace and crazy finish. Rupp was not surprised."Obviously from he star we knew it was going to be a wild finish," he said. Rupp knew anything in the 5k would be a bonus. "I felt in this race I didn't have anything to lose...I felt like I was playing with house money a little bit."

Rupp is not sure what is next for him.

For Lopez Lomong who finished 10th, the 5k is still a new experience. This was only the third pro meet where Lomong has ever run a 5k.  Lomong, the flag bearer for the US in Beijing said, "I'm really excited to come here. I'm still learning the 5k, how the 5k is going to go... I didn't know it was going to go slow all the way until the last mile, that's why I took the lead a little bit."

Lomong said when the pace picked up he thought the pack would come back to him. He also talked about being 30 meters back at the bell, but at the bell he was in second place right behind Farah. Nonethelss, Lomong said, "I thought they were going to come back to me, but unfortunately they didn't come back.  I'm still learning. I'm still a young buck in this event."

Up next for Lomong is 5k in Zurich where he hopes to join the sub 13:00 club. Lomong noted sub 13:10 would still be a PR. On Sunday he'll be cheering at the marathon for Team USA. Plus South Sudan, the new country where Lomong grew up, has marathoner Guor Marial running under the IOC flag. Lomong said of Marial, "Hopefully he'll medal."

**NCAA champ Cam Levins said he has been battling a cold. Nonetheless, he made the 5,000m final. He said, "I've had a bad cold and then it's moved down to my chest and my lungs. Being filled up with junk, it's kind of hard to breathe. I didn't feel great straight away and on the last lap I was just sad. I lost motivation."

One man who definitely didn't lose motivation was Mo Farah.  Itwas fitting that the 5,000m victory celebration was moved to be the last event on the calendar. Track and Field at the 2012 London Olympics came to an end with much of the 80,000 in attendance singing, "God Save the Queen." A great way for the London Olympics program to end.

Quick Take (#1): Farah's double gold coming at home is certainly one of the greatest moments, if not the greatest moment, in British athletic history. Not to dampen this festive mood, but we want to point out that this win pales in comparison to what happened four years ago in Beijing, when in our minds Kenenisa Bekele ran the greatest 5000 ever run.

In Beijing, in a 12:57 race, Bekele hammered home the entire last 2k all by himself from the front. Bekele's last 3k in Bejing was 7:35.53, his last 2k was 4:56.97, and his last 1600 was 3:57.01. And it was a sub 13:00 race. The last 3k of 7:35.53 was a world class performance by itself and he did all of the work and then finished it off in 53.

Relive that race here: LRC Kenenisa Bekele Completes Historic Double In Style - By Running The Greatest 5k Ever Run

QT #2: After Rupp's silver in the 10,000, the world order of distance running seemed to have been upset. It was restored a bit tonight as African born runners took the top six places.

QT #3: It would have been great for the sport if Gebremeskel had been right on Farah's shoulder at the bell as their last lap's were very similar in terms of time, Gebremeskel's might have been a tiny bit faster, but Gebremeskel just started too far back and had too much traffic to deal with. But he has no one to blame for that but himself.

QT #4: Alamirew and Gebremeskel did work together a little bit today but we're stunned the Africans teams don't seem to really work together like they did in the past. Given Hagiwot's injury coming in, it might have made sense to make him the sacrificial lamb to set a blistering pace. If this had been fast from the gun, Farah may have been toast as he told the BBC afterwards:

"I was low on confidence going into the race. In the heat, I didn't feel so good. I have to say I felt tired," said Farah who added he was happy the guys in the race didn't team up to "get rid of him".  "It worked out pretty well so it was good."

"Anything is possible. It's just hard work and grafting."

Correction/Update: A British visitor wrote in and says:
Hey guys,

just a correction to your article, in the interview Mo did not say he was 'low on confidence' but rather he said he had a 'lot of confidence'. Listen to it again, you need to appreciate his accent!


Henry, UK

We thought it was strange Farah's confidence was low (but thought maybe it was a result of being tired from the 10,000) so we listened to the interview at least five times ourselves times and each time we thought he said 'low' and not 'a lot', but Henry is British so he's probably right and not us.

QT #5: American distance running has come a long way if 4th, 7th, and 10th is a so-so performance.

Position Bib Athlete Country Mark .
1 1808 Mohamed Farah GBR 13:41.66 .
2 1688 Dejen Gebremeskel ETH 13:41.98 .
3 2310 Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa KEN 13:42.36 .
4 3231 Bernard Lagat USA 13:42.99 .
5 2307 Isiah Kiplangat Koech KEN 13:43.83 .
6 2456 Abdalaati Iguider MAR 13:44.19 .
7 3250 Galen Rupp USA 13:45.04 .
8 2495 Juan Luis Barrios MEX 13:45.30 .
9 1095 Hayle Ibrahimov AZE 13:45.37 .
10 3232 Lopez Lomong USA 13:48.19 .
11 1689 Hagos Gebrhiwet ETH 13:49.59 .
12 1677 Yenew Alamirew ETH 13:49.68 .
13 1553 Mumin Gala DJI 13:50.26 .
14 1293 Cameron Levins CAN 13:51.87 .
15 3114 Moses Ndiema Kipsiro UGA 13:52.25 .
Intermediate Bib Athlete nat Mark
1000m 2307 Isiah Kiplangat Koech KEN 2:55.40
2000m 3232 Lopez Lomong USA 5:56.70
3000m 1677 Yenew Alamirew ETH 8:42.95
4000m 1688 Dejen Gebremeskel ETH 11:16.47

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