Magical Mo Farah races into land of legends during London 2012

Brilliant Farah cuts the opposition to pieces to complete his historic double amid euphoric scenes

The Olympic Stadium

As a youngster growing up in Hounslow on the west side of London, Mohammed Farah had posters of Muhammad Ali covering his bedroom wall. In terms of poundage, the flyweight British distance runner is no match for the hallowed heavyweight champion. After delivering the second part of a momentous one-two to his rivals in the ring of London 2012's showpiece arena last night, though, Mo Farah can lay claim to being the greatest.

The slip of a 29-year-old is certainly the finest male British distance runner of all time and the best in the world at present. In the opinion of no less an authority than Sebastian Coe, however, he should now be regarded as the greatest British track and field Olympian of all-time.

Nobody in the delirious 80,000 crowd was advancing a counter-argument last night. Just like the Lightning Bolt in the individual sprints, Britain's very own running phenomenon struck for a second time at the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

When it came to the home straight in the 5,000m final, with what seemed like half the world gathering at his shoulder ready to pounce, the Fly Mo shifted into top gear and cut the opposition to shreds.

First Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya and then Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia attempted to overtake, but the mighty Mo resisted them both, surging forward into the annals of history. The place erupted as Farah crossed the line 0.32sec ahead of Gebremeskel. The time, a pedestrian 13min 41.66sec, was an irrelevance. The achievement was anything but. Farah dropped to the track and performed some sit-ups as the sound of David Bowie blasting over the public address system. A hero just for one day? For the rest of his life, more like.

Just like the planet's pre-eminent sprinter, the new British king of distance running – winner of the 10,000m final seven days previously – entered the record books as a legend in his own right. In the 116 years of the modern Olympic Games, only six men had ever completed the 5,000m and 10,000m double: Hannes Kolehmainenen (1912), Emil Zatopek (1952), Vladimir Kuts (1956), Lasse Viren (1972 and 1976), Miruts Yifter (1980) and Kenenisa Bekele (2008).

Now a Briton is the seventh – the magnificent seventh. "It's just unbelievable," Farah said. "I knew I just had to hold on at the end. I couldn't have done it without the crowd. The noise they made when I came off the bend was like when there's a goal at the Emirates.

"These two medals are for my two girls that are coming," he added, referring to the twins his wife Tania is carrying. "They're not born yet, hopefully. There's one for each."

The delivery of the second golden birth gift came after something of a pregnant pause. The 12-and-a-half-lap race did not begin in earnest until four laps to go. Farah started at the very back of the 15-man field as his rivals set off at a dawdle. After 1,000 metres he moved from the back to the very front but without injecting any meaningful pace.

It was all part of the phoney war. Only when the final mile was entered did the real battle commence. The Ethiopians Yenew Alamirew and Gebremeskel were prominent as the pace upped significantly.

Farah maintained perfect positioning all through the race and with 500 metres to go he and Galen Rupp, his American training partner, led the way. At the bell Longosiwa tried to force his way past but Farah held his ground. He continued to do so all the way to the line – even when the Kenyan and Gebremeskel applied severe pressure.

Chants of "Mo! Mo! Mo!" rang around the arena and Farah performed his "Mobot" celebration routine. Bolt did the same in a respectful nod to a fellow great as he carried the Jamaican baton across the line in world record time in the 4 x 100m relay final that was to follow. "Usain Bolt is a legend," Farah said. "For him to do the Mobot when he's going across breaking a world record is unbelievable."

It was the fourth gold of the Games for Britain in the athletics arena but the team are destined (barring a miracle in the men's marathon today) to finish two gongs short of their overall target of eight medals.

The talk of the track last night was that head coach Charles van Commenee would follow through with his pledge to resign as head coach rather than try to hold on to it by the gold difference.

There was a time, believe it or not, when Midas Mo was in danger of squandering his world-beating talent. He was known as a party animal, on one occasion jumping naked into the Thames from Kingston Bridge. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008 he was knocked out in the 5,000m heats.

Four years on, he has got his reward for knuckling down to hard graft. "It has been a long journey," the double Olympic champ reflected. "I have been grafting and grafting for this. It hasn't been easy but it's all been worth it."

Olympic long-distance magnificent seven

Mo Farah last night became the seventh man to achieve the feat of winning both 5,000m and 10,000m in the same Olympics. He also became the first Brit to win two individual gold medals at this Olympics.

The full list of men to have won both 5,000m and 10,000m at the same Olympics reads:

2012 Mo Farah (Great Britain)

2008 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia)

1980 Miruts Yifter (Ethiopia)

1972 & 1976 Lasse Viren (Finland)

1956 Vladimir Kuts (Soviet Union)

1952 Emil Zatopek (Czechoslovakia)

1912 Hannes Kolehmainen (Finland)

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
Arts and Entertainment
James Dean on the set of 'Rebel without a Cause', 1955
photographyHe brought documentary photojournalism to Tinseltown, and in doing so, changed the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing