Men’s 5000: Mo Farah Completes The “Double Double”; American Paul Chelimo Surprises With Silver After A Slew Of DQs And Reinstatements Temporarily Cause Silver And Bronze Medal Pandemonium

August 20, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO – Fast from the gun, surging in the middle, or leaving it to the last lap, the men’s 5,000m competitors could have run this race ten different ways and likely, Mo Farah would have won every time. Just how do you beat a guy who can win any style of race?

The answer is you don’t and that is why Farah has now joined Finland’s Lasse Viren as the only man in history to pull off the 5K/10K double at two Olympic Games after winning tonight at the Olympic Stadium in 13:03.30. The results behind him were temporarily a jumbled mess of DQs and reinstatements, but in the end, all of the DQs impacting the medals were lifted and Paul Chelimo won a surprise silver medal for the USA (massive pb of 13:03.90) as Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet took the bronze in 13:04.35.

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Results *Race video for US visitors
1 Mohamed FARAH GBR 13:03.30
2 Paul Kipkemoi CHELIMO USA 13:03.90 PB
3 Hagos GEBRHIWET ETH 13:04.35
4 Mohammed AHMED CAN 13:05.94
5 Bernard LAGAT USA 13:06.78 SB
6 Andrew BUTCHART GBR 13:08.61 PB
7 Albert Kibichii ROP BRN 13:08.79
8 Joshua Kiprui CHEPTEGEI UGA 13:09.17
9 Birhanu BALEW BRN 13:09.26 PB
10 Abrar OSMAN ERI 13:09.56
11 Hassan MEAD USA 13:09.81
12 Dejen GEBREMESKEL ETH 13:15.91
13 Elroy GELANT RSA 13:17.47
14 Brett ROBINSON AUS 13:32.30
15 David TORRENCE PER 13:43.12
Muktar EDRIS ETH DQ R 163.3b

The Ethiopians took it out hard from the gun with a 2:05 first 800m and 1600m in 4:12, but the pace settled a little in the middle as 3k was hit in 7:57. At 3200 (8:29), it was actually Farah himself who had the lead and he’d never really relinquish it (he was technically second at a few points, but always by insignificant margins). After a 65.1 lap from 3000 to 3400, each of Farah’s final 4 laps would be faster than the previous – 64.9, 63.4, 59.9 and 52.7.

The race came down to the last lap. At the bell, 12 of the 15 members of the field were still in contact with the lead group. Just as he did four years ago in London, it was Hagos Gebrhiwet that was fighting most ferociously to try to get the lead but Farah wouldn’t let him get it at the bell or when they hit the backstretch.

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As the racers entered the final turn, the contenders were down to five – Farah, Gebrhiwet, Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris, Canada’s Mo Ahmed and Paul Chelimo. Gebrhiwet was still on Farah’s heels at the top of the final straight, but he’d soon start to fade, and would end up third. Surprisingly, the only man moving up to challenge Farah was US runner-up Paul Chelimo, a man with a 13:19 pb. Chelimo was boxed briefly on the turn and slowed a little, and then got out of of the box and charged towards Farah coming right up on his shoulder as they hit the straight. However, Farah refused to yield the lead and burst away in the final 50 meters to win and complete the double.

Chelimo finished .60 behind Farah as Gebrhiwet held on to the bronze with Muktar Edris fourth, Mohammed Ahmed fifth, and 41-year-old Bernard Lagat a respectable sixth place.

Then about 15 minutes after the race, word spread that Chelimo, Edris and Ahmed were DQ’d for running inside the curb (IAAF Rule 163.3(b)). The last lap was full of contact and apparently they may have stepped on the line where the rail was removed for the high jump. Consequently and amazingly, this meant that Lagat had temporarily moved from sixth to third in the results. That decision didn’t stand though, as another 40 minutes later it was announced that Chelimo and Ahmed (but not Edris) were reinstated, meaning that the original medal results stood. With Edris’ absence, Ahmed was bumped to fourth, and Lagat fifth.

It was a bizarre end to the final individual track event of these Olympic Games, but despite the post-race confusion, one thing remained very clear: Mo Farah has cemented himself as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) championship racers of all-time.

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*Video highlights here for US visitors

Quick Take: The GOAT Discussion Continues

A year-and-a-half ago, the LRC staff had an internal debate about whether or not Mo Farah could be considered the GOAT (greatest of all-time). What was holding back Farah at the time and still does today was his lack of world records and major accolades in XC/road racing. That said, Farah now has nine global gold medals over 5K and 10K, which beats out Kenenisa Bekele‘s eight and Haile Gebrselassie‘s six. Debate over who the GOAT is can continue, but considering his overall gold medal haul, ability to win any style of race, and equaling of Lasse Viren’s historic “double double,” it’s getting harder to argue against those who say Farah is the greatest distance track championship racer of all-time, although to be fair to Gebrselassie it must be pointed out that he never tried to double at the Olympics as there used to be 10k heats.

QT: Mo Farah Makes it Look Easy, But It’s Not and He’s the Ultimate Tactician

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Mo Farah has been so dominant since 2011 that it’s easy to take his wins for granted. He doesn’t, and neither should we.

“I can’t believe I did it. I dreamed to be Olympic champion once. Watching Haile and Paul Tergat in Sydney and then I did it in London, that was incredible. And four years later I did it (again). There are no words to describe it,” he said.

Farah said he was motivated to get a fourth gold medal for his son, as he has four children. “The Olympics get hard and tougher. For me now all my four kids have one medal each. I’m going to engrave them in their name and when I’m one day gone they’ll have something,” he said.

As for the race itself, Farah said he thought, “I’m going to chill out and go to the back,” but the Ethiopians surprised him by pushing from the gun. A few times he said he was thinking “oh no” as he was “feeling a little tired,” but then he was feeling a little bit better and decided it was time to take control of the race. He went to the front and “wasn’t going to let anyone pass me” and then use his speed on the final lap. Farah also knows he is best in a 13 flat to 13:10 race so he wanted to go to the front and pretend he was keeping it honest but slow it down. He said, the plan was to “Let them think the pace is still moving, but to slow it down.”

That set up Farah perfectly for the final lap where the big surprise was his biggest challenger was Paul Chelimo. We asked Farah if he had ever heard of Paul Chelimo before tonight and he said, “Of course I had,” noting he did some commentary for World Indoors where Chelimo ran and got 7th. Farah said he has learned a lot since 2011 when he was beaten by Ibrahim Jeilan in the 10,000m, whom Farah did not know at the time. Since then Farah says he has done “a lot of studying” and “homework”on his competitors and that has helped him not only since 2011, but also 2007 when he was an also-ran at the World level. The results have been magical as he hasn’t lost a global title since that 10,000m in 2011.

QT: What’s Next for Farah and What About His Association with Jama Aden?

The good news for Farah is he doesn’t plan on having any more kids ,so he doesn’t need to win any more Olympic gold medals for them. However, he is British and feels an obligation to run the World Champs in London next year. He wouldn’t commit to the double but will be racing on the track.

Then he’ll likely turn to the roads and the challenge of the marathon which he said he’s not very good at. “I’m not so good at the marathon. It was hard for me [in his debut in London]. A different pain, a different challenge. I would like to be able to see what I could do in the marathon,” he said.

Just as he was after his 10k victory, Farah was asked about his association with Jama Aden at the press conference. Aden’s hotel was raided in Spain and reportedly EPO was found, but no doping cases have been brought. Social media posts have shown Farah and Aden training in the same place, but Farah downplayed his relationship with Aden saying on the circuit he takes selfies with a lot of people and is friendly with them, but said he is not friends with Jama Aden. This was despite one Irish journalist saying he had spoken to a former Nike staffer who said Aden described Farah as a friend.

Farah was also asked if Alberto Salazar is still coaching him as much in the past. Farah said their relationship hasn’t changed. He said, “I spend six months away training abroad… this year I started off in January in Ethiopia, then I was in Flagstaff, then I was in Ft. Romeu,” but he was “still in touch with him. [Alberto] sends me sessions and stuff. It’s normal.” He did admit that he rarely trains with Galen Rupp anymore as when he was asked about watching Rupp in the marathon, he said, “I haven’t seen Galen in so long.”

QT: Paul Chelimo never won an NCAA title, was .06 away from making the U.S. team and entered the Olympics with a 13:21 pb. Now he’s the first American 5,000 medallist in 52 years.

Chelimo’s run tonight was simply amazing, the unlikeliest of the United States’ six mid-d/distance medals at these 2016 Olympics. He sat behind the leaders for most of the way, running most of the race on the rail and was never dropped until the very end by Mo Farah — the greatest distance runner of the decade. Few predicted Chelimo to contend for a medal tonight, much less win one (ourselves included, a fact not lost on Chelimo). But he overcame the odds and will head back to his home in Oregon with an Olympic silver. We have much more on Chelimo’s historic run here:

LRC Paul Chelimo Proves Everyone Wrong (Including Once Again to Win the U.S.’s First Olympic 5,000 Medal in 52 Years

QT: The Ethiopians Deserve Credit For Making It Honest

Every championship since Farah won double gold in London, there is talk about how it’s going to take teamwork and a fast, honest race to bring him down. Fans and even commentators seem to get frustrated when his competitors allow the pace dawdle and play right into Farah’s hands. The commentators on the NBC broadcast tonight criticized the field for letting the pace slow in the middle after the initial fast start, but everyone needs to be reminded of something – 13:03 is honest.

To get gold tonight, Farah had to run the second fastest winning time in Olympic 5,000m history (only Bekele’s 2008 winning time of 12:57.82 is faster and only four World Championships have been won faster) and much faster than he has in any of his gold medal runs before (his previous fastest gold medal race was 13:23 in 2011). Running near the 13-minute mark in a non-rabbitted setup is not easy (consider the 2016 world lead is only Farah at 12:59.29) so the Ethiopians, especially Dejen Gebremeskel, who did a lot of the early leading, deserve props for going for it. It’s just Farah was still better.

Gebremeskel said his plan was to trade off every two laps with countryman Hagos Gebrhiwet, but Gebremeskel said he simply got tired midway through the race as running that hard for that long is not easy to do. Gebremeskel added that they tried to get the third Ethiopian, Muktar Edris, in on the plan to split up the laps further, but Edris wasn’t interested, which disappointed Gebremeskel.

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QT: Bernard Lagat Breaks His Own Masters World Record; Handles a Tough DQ Situation with Typical Class

With the DQ mess-ups and focus on Farah’s “double double”, the greatness of Bernard Lagat’s run has been overshadowed. To cross the line sixth (he was fifth after the Edris DQ) at an Olympic Games at age 41 is a simply incredible achievement, no matter the event. Lagat was kicking for a medal on the final turn, and said he had absolutely no regrets as he left it all out on the track tonight. Lagat’s 13:06.78 tonight shaved eight seconds off his own masters world record of 13:14.96 set in London last month. It’s interesting to wonder whether Lagat would have been able to medal had the pace gone slower. Though his 55.6 last lap tonight wasn’t slow, it was almost three seconds slower than what he closed the Trials in (though the Trials was won in 13:35 compared to tonight’s 13:03). A slower pace would have made it easier on Lagat at the end — though the same could be said for everyone else.

Lagat didn’t find out he earned the bronze (temporarily) until a reporter broke it to him in the mixed zone. As he spoke to the press, he wore a bemused expression and was clearly a little uncomfortable with the situation.

“Honestly, I think with the steeplechase, the way it went, if you finished fourth and then somebody stepped on the line once, no advantage, and you finished fourth, are you really going to say, ‘Gosh I won the bronze medal because that guy cheated and had an advantage over me.’ I don’t think there’s any advantage. To me. I feel like yes, things happen.”

It would have been a terrific ending to Lagat’s track career if he were to go out with a medal at his final Olympics, but Lagat did not want to back into a medal in this fashion. He handled a tricky situation well, and showed the qualities that made Chelimo refer to him as a “role model” in his post-race interview.

QT: Mead Bummed to Not Be in Top 10

Hassan Mead finished 11th place, and while he had talked some of wanting to medal afterwards he said “that was the main thing to finish in the top 10” so he was disappointed. He said, “I think 95% of the race was a great race…I just kind of lost my momentum going into the last lap…and then my legs weren’t there. I didn’t finish how I would have liked. Overall it was a good race, but I’m bummed I didn’t get to finish in the top 10.”

Mead was full of praise for Chelimo, but also said he has bigger things instore for himself. “He [Chelimo] put himself in a great situation from the gun, and never gave it up. To finish second place that’s awesome. He’s a tough cookie…. I want to keep going, I feel like we’re just getting going,” he said.

QT: NBC Needs To Stop Telling Athletes On Live National Television That They’ve Been Disqualified

As Chelimo was celebrating his Olympic silver medal he received the news that he had (temporarily) been disqualified. And how do you think he received this heartbreaking update? From NBC commentator Lewis Johnson with a camera in his face and millions of people watching his live reaction on TV.

Maybe NBC feels this makes for “good TV” (in the way that footage of a flood or tornado destroying a town is “good TV”), but it shows a lack of tact on their part and should be stopped (they did the same thing with Justin Gatlin and the men’s 4 x 100). We understand 100% that the questions need to be asked, but how about informing the athlete off camera before interviewing rather than giving him some of the worst news of his life and then filming the reaction? That’s not how someone should find out they lost an Olympic medal. (Note: This is for situations where the interviewer knows of the DQ before the interview begins. If they get the DQ update during the interview, then they have no choice but to inform the athlete live.)

That said, both Chelimo and Gatlin handled themselves well under the circumstances. although Chelimo admitted he wasn’t happy with NBC’s interviewing tactic. In this Washington Post article titled, “A U.S. soldier learned he lost a silver medal on live television — and then got it back,” Chelimo said, “I don’t know why they did that. I had to wait two or three minutes before they had me live on the TV. I thought they were trying to interview me because I’m a silver medalist. They should have told me what was happening. I can’t say for them. I don’t know what happened. I was just disappointed. It’s really sad for me, because I heard it from a TV guy. The whole time, I didn’t know.”

Update on weather: Dark Sky showed the temperature as being 71 degrees

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