Bar a short comment denying any wrongdoing in the wake of the allegations against his coach and training partner, Mo Farah has remained silent in the wake of Wednesday’s Panorama investigation.
The Londoner is currently away from Nike’s Oregon Project, which was at the centre of the doping allegations, as he prepares to compete in the Diamond League in Birmingham on Sunday.
Quite what the future holds and quite what Farah makes of the allegations, which both coach and athlete have dismissed as untrue, will become clear when he addresses the media for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
The World Anti-Doping Agency has called on both the United States Anti-Doping Agency and athletics’ governing body the IAAF to investigate claims that US distance runner Galen Rupp had taken testosterone from the age of 16 and that his – and Farah’s – coach Alberto Salazar had some questionable approaches to drug use.
It is thought a Usada investigation is already under way, although the body’s custom is neither to confirm nor deny if something of that nature is ongoing.
Whether Farah waits to make any potential move until the outcome of that investigation is another issue but there are clearly matters he will want to consider.
Farah and Rupp are close friends, and the warmth of feeling was there for all to see as they emotionally embraced in the aftermath of their one-two in the 10,000 metres final at London 2012.
They live near each other in Oregon, pound mile after mile on the track and trails in the surrounding area, and are sparring partners when it comes to playing computer games in the rare downtime given to them in Salazar’s punishing training regime.
As well as Farah potentially having to consider his future relationship with Rupp, there is also the issue of Salazar, who brushed everything off in the BBC documentary as “inaccurate and unfounded journalism”.
There have been claims about the elite coach – who has denied all allegations – in the past, with other journalistic investigations into his alleged practices which never saw the light of day.
Runner Mary Decker Slaney, coached by Salazar, was banned in 1997 after testing positive for testosterone in 5,000m trials for the Atlanta Olympics a year earlier. She claimed taking the birth control pill could have caused a false positive result. No action was taken against Salazar.
Then there is the small matter of the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, a long-term Nike athlete and one who, a few years ago, Salazar coached to compete in a marathon. The potential fallout from this association is clearly not helpful to Farah.
There is no suggestion whatsover that Farah has done anything wrong but as the stellar athlete of a training group with a cloud over it, at the very least it is not a happy situation for him.
So what next for Farah? He relocated to Oregon Project in 2011 – switching adidas sponsorship for Nike in the process – to help him progress from being a European star to an athlete capable of beating the might of East Africa.
He has done just that with a remarkable series of double golds over 5,000m and 10,000m at Olympic, world and European level.
His reputation remains intact and he has continually reiterated his stance as a clean athlete – one backed by British Athletics – and the lucrative sponsorship deals with Virgin Media, Quorn and Nike are not about to vanish.
Farah has repeatedly expressed his loyalty to Salazar. After the recent allegations about his coach, now may be the time for a rethink.Reuse content