Rio de Janeiro: Britain’s Mo Farah completed a historic Olympic distance double double with victory in the 5,000m Saturday as American runner Matt Centrowitz scored an upset win to claim the 1,500m gold.
“It never gets old,” beamed the 33-year-old after capturing his second successive 5,000m title on Saturday, winning the Rio final in 13min 3.30sec to emulate Finland’s Lasse Viren, who did the double at the 1972 and 1976 Games.
“Mentally I had to be on the top of my game. The guys were out there to get me. I had to be alert.
Farah became the first man since Finnish great Lasse Viren in 1976 to retain two Olympic distance titles after storming to victory, a week after defending his 10,000m crown at Rio’s Olympic Stadium.
The Somali-born Londoner again produced a superb tactical race on Saturday to outfox his rivals and take gold in 13min 3.30sec.
“Oh my God I can’t believe it!” said Farah. “My legs were tired after the 10,000m and people had to bring me food in my room.
“This is the most satisfying win of the four, it is incredible. If you have dreams they can come true and I always wanted to achieve these for my kids because for so much of the year you don’t see them. You want to show them something or rather the reason for the absences.”
Farah, who trains in Oregon under ex-marathon great Alberto Salazar, said watching Ethiopian distance legend Kenenisa Bekele medalling had been an inspiration.
“It shows I didn’t just fluke it in London,” added Farah, Britain’s most successful Olympic track and field athlete of all time.
Farah’s medal was Britain 27th gold of the Rio Games and their 65th medal, matching their haul in London four years ago.
“We’ve achieved a lot as a nation,” said the Somali-born superstar, whose heroics in 2012 won the hearts of a nation.
“To be able to carry on from 2012 four years later, the legacy has changed since 2012.
“More people are doing sport, we’re winning more. I’m proud to represent my country. We’re going to finish second in the medal table, who would have thought that?”
Farah, who fought back from a stumble to win the 10,000m last week, said his 5,000m victory had been the most satisfying of the four golds.
“I dreamed of becoming Olympic champion once,” said Farah, who has already achieved the world double-double, at the 2013 and 2015 championships in Moscow and Beijing.