Mo Farah doesn’t race, he teases. He mocks as he wins. For a period the field thought they had a chance of beating him; yet again they were fooled. Farah, the greatest distance runner ever, leaves his sport undefeated over 10,000m.
Farah won the gold medal in his home stadium in front of a giddy crowd and in the process on the night even overshadowed Usain Bolt.
Bolt’s true farewell was to come 24 hours later in the finals of the 100m, not the heats he had messily navigated on Friday’s opening night, whereas Farah’s race was a final farewell, at least in that event. He waits now to see if he can also claim the 5000m gold again too.
He has now won an unprecedented 10 consecutive Olympic or world championships gold medals across 10,000m and 5,000m.
For context, Haile Gebrselassie, the man – pre-Farah – considered the greatest ever, won six in a row at 10,000m in his career. Kenenisa Bekele won four consecutive 5km and 10km Olympic and world titles.
Farah raced as he did here in 2012. He dropped to the back of the field and coasted, surged to the front, dropped back again. Coasted in the near group and surged when the pace needed to be put on.
“What a way to end my career in London. This was very special,” Farah said.
“I knew at 12 laps to go when they went hard from there I knew it was going to be tough. It was about believing in my sprint finish and knowing that I have been in that position before. It helped a lot having that experience.
“That was a special moment for me. I miss spending time with them [my family]. To have my family on the track is very special.” He celebrated on the track, walking a lap with his four kids, the youngest carried in his arms.
Farah knew, as did the rest of the field, that when the moment came they could not stay with him. He had history as well as the crowd with him.
Twice his rear leg was clipped and he stumbled yet managed to recover his step without falling.
“I didn’t want to go down. I didn’t want to let other people down,” Farah said.
Indeed Farah carried the crowd with him. As he turned down the straight approaching 4000m he waved his arms to he crowd to lift and come with him as he surged from the back of the field.
“I just wanted to play with the guys’ heads. It wasn’t an easy race though. It has been a long journey where I have worked very hard on long distance but also speed,” he said.
He finished in 26 minutes 49.51 to win from Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei in 26:49.94 while Kenyan Paul Kipngetich Tanui won bronze in 26:50.60.
This time as the games began in London’s Queen Elizabeth Stadium, the home of the Olympics five years ago, the Queen was not a Bond girl. Her Majesty did not drop from a plane flanked by Daniel Craig to parachute into London’s Olympic stadium. Pity.
There was still a familiar resonance of the Olympics about the championships. There was still no empty seat and the crowd noise was ear-bleedingly loud. After the sparse crowds of Beijing and Moscow it made for a welcome change.
‘s Patrick Tiernan was disappointing with his run, mucking up his pacing and blowing up late in the race to finish at the rear of the field.
“It’s really disappointing. I knew I was in good shape. It was just bad. It just started hurting and then I just didn’t want to get lapped. It was horrible. I’ve got the 5000m, though. I’ll be back.,” he said.
In the biggest shock of opening night, Gen Suhr, the American Olympic gold medallist, failed to record a height in the pole vault.
Farah’s performance only enhances his record and status as the greatest distance runner ever but will do nothing for those sceptical of his clean status.
He is tarnished by association for his coach, Alberto Salazar, who continues to be investigated by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
And last month documents leaked by Russian hackers Fancy Bears named Farah among a list of athletes that the sports own body had referred to in a document as likely dopers.
The comment allegedly came in a reference to a November 23, 2015 test and read “Likely doping; Passport suspicious: further data is required.” A second file however, dated April 2016, said that Farah was “now flagged as normal”.