Mo Farah still cannot lay claim to be the greatest British athlete of all time, according to newly elected IAAF president Seb Coe.
Coe officially took over from Lamine Diack at the end of the World Championships and said that he still ranks Daley Thompson as the greatest athlete that Britain has ever had despite Farah completing a hat-trick of global double golds following his 5,000m victory here on Saturday.
“He is a wonderful, wonderful athlete,” Coe said of Farah. “I’ll leave the greatest ever tag to other athletes. And of course if I conceded that I’d lose a lifelong friendship with Daley Thompson.
“Mo’s progress through the ranks has been spectacular but there are other things you need to throw into the balance: world records, times, speeds, all those things.”
Farah has had a season dogged by controversy following the doping allegations levelled in a Panorama documentary towards his coach Alberto Salazar and training partner Galen Rupp, which both men denied.
It was also later revealed that Farah had missed two drugs tests in the lengthy build-up to London 2012. And Coe, as a former athlete, said he had sympathy amid the accusations.
“I remember breaking the world mile record in 1981 and I was dubbed an overnight sensation,” he said. “We have to be careful here when we start making assumptions about quality and unpredictable results.
“It is sadly slightly the territory we have inherited. Part of my responsibility is to move the sport off that territory. We are more than a discussion about test tubes, blood and urine.”
Much of Farah’s preparation for the championships has been done with British Athletics’ head of endurance Barry Fudge, who Farah labelled “my right-hand man”.
And Fudge said Farah’s build-up was the best it had ever been this year despite the fallout from the allegations against Salazar.
Fudge admitted his withdrawal from the Birmingham Diamond League back in June, the week the Panorama documentary aired, proved the turning point in his season.
“After that he said, ‘We’ve got to do something special this summer. To hell with this other stuff. How do I win two more titles?’’’
‘‘And I told him, ‘Look, we have an opportunity for you to be exceptional’.”
Fudge also said the British public should appreciate him before it’s too late. He added: “People won’t realise how good he is until it is done and dusted.”Reuse content