Commentary

Farah makes the 5,000 look easy

British runner puts on a show in winning the gold before the home crowd

Updated: August 12, 2012, 2:24 PM ET
By Jim Caple | ESPN.com

LONDON -- OK, Usain. Top that.

Great Britain's Mo Farah not only won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters last weekend and added a gold medal in the 5,000 meters Saturday, he also had enough left in the tank to do a set of one-armed, cross-body sit-ups after crossing the finish line.

Now it's one thing to do push-ups after running 200 meters as fast as you can, but to knock out a sit-up rep after running three miles as fast as you can? That's impressive.

"It was something I did for the crowd and the sport,'' Farah said. "Bolt did the push-ups [after the 200], so I thought I would do the sit-ups to match him.''

"I was going to say hi to him and then he was doing that,'' American runner Bernard Lagat said. "He was ready to run another two laps. That was nothing for him.''

Farah's training partner, Galen Rupp, laughed and said it was the first time "I've seen him do abs in two months.''

Yeah, Farah is clearly developing a gut. The guy really ought to mix in a salad.

England is famous for being good at the traditional sitting sports -- rowing, riding, cycling -- but Farah and heptathlon champ Jessica Ennis showed at these Olympics that the British can also compete on the track just fine, thank you. Farah was born in Somalia, but his family moved to England when he was 8 years old and he very much considers himself British. "Look, mate, this is my country. This is where I grew up,'' Farah said after the 10,000.

[+] EnlargeFarah
Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesMo Farah got to celebrate in front of the home crowd after winning the 5,000 meters gold.

"I'm sure there are youngsters out there who saw us and want to be an athlete,'' Farah said after the 5,000. "When I was growing up it was all about football (or in American terms, soccer). I started in football. That was my thing, because that was what I saw on TV. If it wasn't for my P.E. teacher I would not have gotten into this sport. There are a lot of young people we can inspire.''

And in turn, the crowd lifted Farah. The ovation was overwhelming when he was introduced before the 5,000, and the decibels only increased as the race went on.

"The crowd was inspiring, for sure,'' Farah said. "If it wasn't for them, I don't think I would have been able to dig as deep. It just got louder and louder and louder. It reminded me of a football match and someone scores a goal. It was that loud.''

Farah made his move in the final 400 meters, surging to the front and holding the lead the rest of the way to become the seventh man to win the 5,000 and 10,000 at the same Olympics.

"There is no way to describe it,'' Farah said. "The Olympics don't come along often. As a young athlete, you dream of becoming an Olympic champion, but to do it twice is just unbelievable. And for me, I'm sure if it wasn't for the crowd and the support I wouldn't have done it twice.''

"In the 10K, he ran and looked so easy. Today, when we were running at the bell, I honestly didn't know if he was going to hold it together,'' Lagat said. "And then he wins and it looked like he could have gone farther. That's an amazing run. He's the greatest athlete we have seen in this sport.''

Lagat and Rupp finished off the podium. Rupp didn't run with the discipline he showed when he won the silver medal in last week's 10,000 -- he said his coach, Alberto Salazar, probably would not be pleased -- and finished seventh, 3.5 seconds back. Lagat finished fourth after being clipped from behind in the final 200 meters of what he said was his final Olympic race.

Lagat medaled for Kenya in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, but he fell short of winning a medal as an American citizen.

"It would have been better to have been on the podium and if I had finished third, I would have said, 'At least I'm not going home empty-handed,'" Lagat said. "And now that's actually the case. I'm going home without a medal and fourth place is the worst spot. But I look back and I say, 'I've been the most blessed person during my career.'

"I look back at what I did and where I am now and I feel like I'm one of the blessed.''

Farah must feel the same. "My wife is carrying twins and I didn't want one twin to have a medal and not another,'' he said. "That's what really was driving me.''

And if there are any more children in the future, Farah will just have to medal for them in Rio in 2016. He says he might move up to the marathon there. And by then, the postrace celebrations may require organizers to add a pull-up bar, a stationary bike and a bench press at the finish line.

Jim Caple | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com