‘Weakling’ Farah reveals how gamble paid off

Mo Farah has revealed how the biggest gamble of his career turned him from a weakling who runs “like a girl” into a double Olympic champion.

Farah claimed gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the European Championships in Barcelona in 2010, but knew he still needed to improve on the world scene after finishing sixth and seventh in the previous two World Championships.

The 29-year-old, who had also failed to qualify for the Olympic 5,000m final in Beijing in 2008, therefore split from long-term coach Alan Storey and moved his wife Tania and daughter Rihanna — aged five at the time — from their London home just 17 months out from London 2012 to work with Alberto Salazar in Portland, Oregon.

And the move paid enormous dividends with Farah becoming only the seventh man to win the long-distance Olympic double, with London 2012 chairman Seb Coe — himself a former Olympic champion — hailing Farah as “probably the greatest runner this country has produced”.

“There were a lot of questions asked at the time I moved to America because I was double European champion and people were like, ‘Mo, why are you changing when things are going so well?” Farah said.

“But in your mind you know something had to change because I was coming sixth, seventh, and if I didn’t make that change I don’t think I would have been here today and competing with those guys.

“It felt like it was a gamble, moving my daughter out of school, taking my wife and not knowing too much about the place — it was good for training, that’s all I knew. Half the year I am away as well so you have that responsibility as a parent and husband to make sure they are happy. I am glad my wife does like it.

“I knew it was the right thing because I was weak. Alberto said I run like a girl, in terms of not using my arms when I’m sprinting, when I’m tired I’m all over the place. It needed to change so if I wanted to be better it was the place to be.”

Usain Bolt, meanwhile, hit back at IOC president Jacques Rogge for insisting the 25-year-old sprint phenomenon is not yet a legend.

Bolt and the Jamaican 100m relay team were out of this world after a record-breaking triumph made it three golds at the London Olympics for the world’s most famous athlete.

He has styled himself a “living legend” provoking a put-down from Rogge, but Bolt said there was little else left for him to do—– it was the second time he has completed the Olympic treble — 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.

Bolt said: “No, he can’t challenge me, first of all I would like to answer with a question: what else do I need to do to prove myself a legend.

“I have won both events twice at the Olympics, I have won World Championship gold medals, I have broken world records many times.

“I don’t know what else to do — next time you see him you ask him what else he needs to do that no human as ever done before.”

Bolt also spoke about a demand from a track official that he hand over the baton at the end of the race or face being disqualified — though he later managed to recover it as a souvenir which he, Yohan Blake, and Nesta Carter and Michael Frater will all sign.

Bolt added: “I got the baton back but at first he was saying said I couldn’t keep it because it was the rule and if I didn’t give it back I would be disqualified, so I just gave it back, but I got it back afterwards.”

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