Mo Farah, photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net
Jessica Ennis, photo by PhotoRun.net
Mo Farah & Jessica Ennis were named British Athletes of the Year on Friday, October 26, 2012, by the British Athletics Writers Association. I applaud BAWA for their decision, as they had some great British performances in 2012. While there were some superlative performances by British athletes in 2012, including Greg Rutherford's long jump win, Robbie Grabberz bronze medal and British record in the high jump, Farah and Ennis had the most to loose and, in turn, the most to win.
Farah came into London with gold medal in the 5,000 meters in Daegu and a silver medal in the 10,000 meters in Daegu as well. That silver medal, in my mind, gave Mo Farah, and his coach, Alberto Salazar, and his mentor, Ian Stewart of UK Endurance, much to consider. And consider, they did.
Using tactics that dated back to the 1972 Olympics, Mo Farah drew his fellow competitors into races that he controlled, kilometer after kilometer. Using negative splits, and a killer last thousand meters in both races, Mo Farah fatigued his competitors so much that Farah's finishing, touch, a 52 second last lap finished them off. The 10,000 meters had me on my feet the last two kllometers, and the 5,000 meters, well that was a race that I thought might be over Mo's ability--how wrong I was. Mo Farah finished off the best kickers in the world in both races. Farah was prepared to race, his competitors were not.
The funny thing, is that Ian Stewart had told this writer, since the end of 2011, that there was nothing to worry about, Mo Farah would do fantastic in London. When I would ask him for more information, he would just smile, knowing that Mo Farah was coming along just fine, thank you. After Farah's win at the Prefontaine over 5,000 meters, Stewart told me, " He is not ready yet, but he will ready come time for London." Alberto Salazar told this writer that Mo Farah and Galen Rupp were perfect training partners way back in February 2011. Farah and Rupp draw the best out of each other, which was so obvious during the racing in London. Nice to see the Anglo-US alliance working so well.
I have to say that I believe no athlete that I have witnessed in London had the pressure of Jessica Ennis. I saw her take the silver in Daegu and Istanbul. She handled it with grace and was composed. I wondered to myself, How does she stand it?
But stand it, Jessica Ennis did. Her British record in Gotsiz in June 2012 was the bell weather. In London, Ennis had several chances to blow it, but she kept herself together. Her first day showed that she was in London for one thing: to win. Her coach, Toni Minichiello, helped Jessica Ennis focus, with more media attention on her than any athlete should ever have to consider.