Sir Mo Farah: The winning machine who keeps on producing

The killer burst of speed down the home straight, the arms outstretched in victory as he crossed the line, eyes so wide they looked in imminent danger of popping out of their sockets, a mixture of joy and pain etched across his face - the scenes were nothing new.

Five years on from his first global 10,000 metres gold medal at the London Olympics, Sir Mo Farah returned to the stadium where his feats made him a household name to pocket a quite brilliant fifth - and last.

The London Stadium is home to West Ham's football team now, but it remains synonymous with the performances of a die-hard Arsenal fan.

And, for the next week, it is his stamping ground once more.

The claret and blue hordes were replaced by kids perfecting their 'Mobots', the chants of 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' by a deafening din which swept Farah 25 times round the track, rising to a crescendo as he clinched yet another gold - this one surely his most thrilling yet.

Farah, with a Union flag Nike swoosh on his red running spikes, gestured to the crowd to pump up the volume when he entered the stadium and again mid-race as, for once, his African challengers looked to work together to force the pace and nullify the Briton's finishing speed.

They could not live with him at the death, though, despite being clipped twice in the final lap as he hit the front.

Farah climbed into the stands to embrace his family at the finish, with all four of his children, including a rather reluctant son Hussein, joining him for his lap of honour.

Nothing will match Farah's victories from five summers ago.

The first was the final part of Super Saturday as he followed team-mates Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford in taking gold in a barely-believable 45 minutes.

The second was achieved in front of a stadium so loud that the sound waves caused the photo-finish camera to shake, distorting the official image.

Ennis-Hill and Rutherford are not at the championships - or rather they are, but in the broadcast studio rather than on the track. The former retired last year, the latter is injured.

For Farah, though, the relentless pursuit of medals continues unabated.

London 2012 was the first global long-distance double of Farah's career. He repeated the trick in 2013, 2015 and in 2016 at the Olympics again in Rio, an unprecedented spell of utter domination.

The goal in London is a ridiculous quintuple double.

And, back in the capital, we are witnessing the beginning of the end.

The 34-year-old may live more than 4,900 miles away in Portland, Oregon, and train away at altitude in Ethiopia and the French Pyrenees, but London remains home.

It is where he arrived from Somalia aged eight, where he went to school and where his talent for running was spotted by his PE teacher Alan Watkinson.

And it is fitting the city is also staging his track farewell.

Next Saturday's 5,000m final will be the last time Farah takes to the track at a major championships. Cracking the marathon will be the new focus.

Yes, he has two more races to come afterwards, in Birmingham and then Zurich, but it is majors and medals that have defined his career.

And continue, for a little while longer at least, to do so.

Four Olympic and now six World Championship golds to take his global title tally to double figures.

Those victories have earned him a knighthood - and for this week his own emoji of his signature 'Mobot' pose - but with such sustained success comes suspicion.

Behind him for all of his global titles, dating back to the 2011 World Championships, has been his American coach Alberto Salazar.

Controversy has dogged Salazar, under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and by association his star athlete.

Both men have fiercely denied any allegations of wrong-doing, but the sport is viewed through more cynical eyes than five years ago and Farah is not immune from scrutiny.

One thing is sure, though.

The packed crowd on Friday night were in town purely to marvel in his sustained brilliance on the track, making the pilgrimage while they still can to see Britain's greatest ever athlete doing what he does best.


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