The Mobot returns in triumph but fails to overhaul Ovett's record
Double gold medallist delights capacity crowd two days after the birth of his twin daughters
Monday 27 August 2012
Two new daughters. Two Olympic gold medals. But no two miles record.
As Mo Farah crossed the finish line here on the north side of Birmingham yesterday, the trackside clock flashed up the time 8min 27.24sec. Steve Ovett's 34-year-old British and European two miles record – 8:13.51 – had lived to fight another day.
Nobody really cared. The sell-out crowd of 12,800 had come to pay homage to the double golden boy of British athletics.
As Farah clasped his hands to his shaven head in an M-shape, all around the arena the paying public performed their own versions of the Mobot.
It has emerged in the aftermath of his 5,000m and 10,000m successes at the London Olympics that the new national treasure happens to have an identical twin. In the immediate wake of his victory in the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, it seemed like there were thousands more.
As "Mo Mania" hit England's Second City – complete with a wicker model in Mobot pose on the grassy knoll at the south end of the stadium – the man himself had two extra reasons to celebrate what was in effect no more than a routine end of track season victory. On Friday, Farah's wife Tania gave birth to twin girls.
Given that happy occurrence, and the other assorted madness that has followed Farah's Olympic feats, it had been perhaps expecting too much for him to be remotely bothered about chasing the clock and Ovett's historic record.
"To be honest with you, I've had a hard week, with Tania giving birth," he said. "I haven't had much sleep and with coming up here as well it hasn't been easy.
"I got great support from the crowd and my main aim was just to come out here, win the race and not even think about any time. I've felt a bit tired. It's been hard.
"The Olympics was what I trained so hard for with all the miles week in, week out. I've just got one more race – the Great North Run – and then that will be it for me. I'm looking forward to taking my break and spending a bit of time with the two little ones."
The little ones have yet to be named but Farah reported: "They're good. They're healthy. I'm going straight back to London now to see them in hospital.
"I'm going to get their names engraved on my two Olympic medals, one on each. The one who was born first gets the 10,000m medal and the other one gets the 5,000m medal."
It was clear from the opening stages of the eight-lap race yesterday that Farah's sole priority was finishing first. It was only with 200m to go that he switched into Fly Mo mode, surging clear of the field to win by 1.04sec from Danielle Meucci of Italy.
It was Farah's ninth and final outdoor race of the summer and his eighth victory. The only loss on his record could hardly be regarded as a defeat, however, third place in his 5,000m heat having come en route to his second Olympic gold in London.
The 29-year-old does have one race left before taking an end-of-season rest. He competes against Haile Gebrselassie, the two-time Olympic 10,000m champion, in the Great North Run on 16 September.
That will be Farah's second venture at the half marathon distance (he won in New York last year in 60min 23sec) and, more likely than not, a stepping stone to an eventual step up to the full marathon.
There have been suggestions that he might make his marathon debut in London next April but the double Olympic track champion said: "Definitely not. There will be no marathon next year for sure. When everything's going so well, why change?"
Indeed. Having worked so hard for his Olympic golds, Farah has every reason to bask in the glory.
"I am really enjoying it," he said. "I went to a restaurant the other day and someone came up and asked me to do the Mobot while I had food in my mouth.
"There's a queue all the time at the post box they have painted gold in Teddington. The other day I was driving past and I opened my window and did the Mobot. I said: 'Here's Mo. I'm doing the Mobot'. People were laughing."
Asked whether motivation might be hard to find when it comes to the grind of winter training at his US training base in Portland, the Briton insisted: "No, not at all. Look at Usain Bolt.
"Bolt's still hungry. Bolt's won six Olympic gold medals. He's a big inspiration. I've known him for so long. When I got married he sent me a video message to congratulate me. He's just a normal guy you can have a laugh with – and he's a great athlete." He's not the only one.
Super Steve Ovett's 1978 record
Steve Ovett enjoyed a fine year in 1978, setting superb times over varying distances. The 22-year-old went close to beating Alberto Juantorena's 800m world record before breaking Brendan Foster's two-mile record in London, clocking 8min 13.51sec, beating Henry Rono. His mark was beaten nine years later, but it remains a British and European record.
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