By Mitch Phillips
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Briton Mo Farah became only the second man to retain both Olympic track long distance titles on Saturday when he produced an utterly dominant performance to add the 5,000m gold to the 10,000 he collected a week ago.
Farah followed Finland’s Lasse Viren, who won both titles in 1972 and 1976, and having also done the double twice at the world championships he has now earned his place among the all-time greats of his sport.
Farah dealt with everything the field could throw at him on Saturday, and even took up the pace midway through the race to stamp his authority on the field.
As ever, when it came to a last-lap showdown, nobody could live with his speed and he surged clear of Kenyan-born American Paul Chelimo and Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Things were never going to be easy for Farah as Ethiopian trio Dejen Gebremeskel, Muktar Edris and Gebrhiwet all passed up the 10,000m to concentrate on the shorter distance, and all three boasted faster personal bests than Farah.
After so many races where the rest of the field played into his hands by going steadily and opening the door for a last-lap burn-up, Farah was initially presented with a different challenge as Gebremeskel and Gebrhiwet set off at a hot pace from the start.
However, by the halfway point they seemed to have given up on that approach and Farah moved to the front to push the pace and as it reached the final lap he was, as always, unbeatable.
“I can’t believe it. My legs were a bit tired after the 10k I don’t now how I recovered,” he told reporters.
“It shows I didn’t just fluke it in London, to do it again is incredible. I just want to see my kids and hang this medal around their necks.
“I was surprised by the first lap, I thought it was going to be a slow race. They had a plan, they wanted to take the sting out of me but when I hit the front, I wasn’t letting anyone past me.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)