Mo Farah completes the double, 11 August 2012,
photo by PhotoRun.net
Elliott Denman loves Mo Farah, but he is not happy with how championship distance races are run anymore.
John Walker told RW, way back in 1976, that he would prefer a final with a lot of senior citizens. The pressure of the race, for him then, the World record holder in the mile, top ranked miler for a couple of years, was huge from the land of New Zealand. He did not get an easy race, as his final, while not fast, was a fast and furious closing race with the likes of the late Ivo Van Damme running up very close on him.
For Mo Farah, the Kenyans and Ethiopians could have run a much faster race and made Mo Farah hurt. I am not sure if that would have made a difference. In my mind there are times for fast races and times for slow races. This race was epically tactical, and in the end, a four minute last mile (after miles of 4:43 and 4:30), ended with Mo Farah holding off a field of kickers with a 52.94 last lap.
RBR encourages you to read Elliott Denman’s arguement for a faster race in championships…it is enjoyable reading.
Mo Farah in 13:41,
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
LONDON – Great Britain is riding an incredible wave of “mo”mentum.
These are magic “mo-ments” in Brittania.
The man “mo-stly” responsible: Mohamed “Mo” Farah, double Olympic champion over
the 5,000 and 10,000-meter routes.
He kick-started an astounding series of British successes in track and field by
holding off training partner Galen Rupp of the U.S. to win the 10,000 on the Games’
And he absolutely delighted the home fans who comprised the vast bulk of track’s
twice-daily 80,000 crowdsby giving his sport a “mo-st” memorable sendoff by taking
the 5,000 gold on the concluding Saturday.
Mo Farah wins Olympic 5,000 meters,
photo by PhotoRun.net
Oh, the headline writers are having such a jolly good time with all this.
“Double Golden Delight For Mo.”
“One Mo-Ment in Time”
“Immortal Man Mo Delivers His Dream”
“Mo’s Double Is Out Of This World.”
The columnists are running wild with this story.
“On a night touched by magic, in a stadium shuddering with noise,
Mo Farah joined the ranks of the immortals. With a stunning
exhibition of pace judgment and courage, he overcame the world’s
finest distance runners to deliver his Olympic dream,”
wrote Patrick Collins in The Sunday Mail.
“Father-to-be Mo Farah clinched an unforgettable Olympic double Sturday night –
and then dedicated a gold medal each
to his unborn twin daughters,” wrote Aidan Radnedge in the London Metro.
He quoted London Olympic chairman Sebastian Coe – Lord Coe as he’s officially
titled in these parts – as saying that the 5,000 gold medal, on on top of his
predecessor gold at twice the distance, could make Farah “Britain’s greatest-ever
track and field athlete.”
(Meaning, presumably, he’d outrank the likes of Roger Bannister,
Sydney Wooderson, Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Coe
And now it’s my time to inject my half-shilling’s worth in the discussion.
Basically it’s this: Love Mo Farah, hate the way these races are run.
His gold medal time of 13:41.86 was the slowest at the Games in 44 years,
and that’s only because that 1968 winner,quite coincidentally another Mohamed,
Gammoudi of Tunisia with his 14:05.0, was battling Mexico City’s altitude as
much as such worthy rivals as Kip Keino and Ron Clarke.
As far back as 56 years, at the Melbourne Games of 1956, the winner – Vladimir Kuts of
the Soviet Union – was beating Farah’s 13:41.66; Kuts ran 13:39.6.
I didn’t happen to see any of these little factoids on the slowness of it all
mentioned anywhere in the absolute gusher of praise heaped on Farah for the triumph.
I didn’t happen to see any criticism of these quality runners’ willingness to let these
races descend into such unsatisfactory endings.
No, there’s just high praise for valor in a tactical race; applause for potential medalists’
concession of all hope to those ready to gamble on finding running room in a crowded pack,
and still be able to deliver a final lap of around 53 seconds, as Farah did.
For sure, for sure, for sure, we all know that each of the 15 Olympic 5,000-meter
finalists was capable of running the 12 Â½ – lap distance in under 13 minutes, or mighty
close, They wouldn’t be Olympic finalists if they lacked
But why-why-why do all these quality runners let 13:41.66 Olympic finals happen?
To me, it’s the strangest darn thing in the track and field universe.
Clearly, no one in the Olympic final was willing to “take it out” or “do the work,”
So 15 men virtually jogged nine or ten legs before getting real with it
Ego must be a huge factor in such races. Fifteen men must have been totally
confident they could outkick the other 14 in the closing 600 or 400.
No one was willing to make the pace “honest.” No one had the confidence
that by “doing the work” he’d still be able to hold on to stay in medal position at
USA’s Bernard Lagat has been the absolute master of this “go for it” tactic in
the stretch drive of his big 5,000-meter races. Other than his two Olympic-medal-winning
1500 -meter races, he’s always had the confidence he’d be up there with leaders, or as
the leader, in one of these slow-start, then mad-dash-to-the-finish races.
It can backfire, too, and so easily It did to Bernard Lagat, “Mr. Sprint Finish” himself,
He never could find the running room needed to get him onto the podium, and so his
dream of claiming a third career Olympic medal went up ithe smoke of his 13:42.99
Mo Farah is now in the archives with Hannes Kohlemainen of Finland (1912),
Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia (1952), Vladimir Kuts of Soviet Union (1956) ,
Lasse Viren of Finland (1972 and 1976) and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopiia (2008) as men
who’ve taken the 5&10 (sometimes known as the Woolworth Double) at the Games.
So he’s one of seven and “mo-re” power to him
But when those daughters arrive, and then grow to understand such things, he’ll have
to find a good way to explain how he won an Olympic gold medal with a 13:41.66
performance, when that was a full minute and four seconds over the world record, and
when his Olympic predecessor Bekele of Ethiopia, was able to run 12:57.82 just
four years earlier.
Betcha Paavo Nurmo and Ville Ritola, Olympic kings of the 1920s, could have run 13:41,
too, if only they ran in modern shoes on modern tracks.