Mo Farah is a British distance runner. The most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, he is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m.
Farah is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000 m and 10,000 m titles at successive Olympic Games.
He also completed the ‘distance double’ at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics.
He was the second man in history, after Kenenisa Bekele, to win long-distance doubles at successive Olympics and World Championships, and the first in history to defend both distance titles in both major global competitions – a feat described as the ‘quadruple-double’.
Since finishing 2nd in the 10,000 metres at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Farah had an unbroken streak of ten global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, the 10,000m in 2017 and the double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016).
The streak ended in Farah’s final championship track race, when he finished second to Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris in the 2017 5000 metres final.
In his final track race, the 2017 Diamond League Final in Zurich in August 2017, Farah gained his revenge, edging out world champion Edris to win his only IAAF Diamond League title at 5000 metres.
On the track, he mostly competed over 5000 metres and 10,000 metres, but has run competitively from 1500 metres to the marathon.
In 2017 he indicated his intention to switch wholly to road racing following victory at his final track race, the 2017 IAAF Diamond League 5000 metres final.
His running style has been described as “bouncy” and tactical, which he has attempted to alter for a more efficient and energy-saving stride pattern, especially in the longer distances.
Farah runs distance races tactically, a style which is aided by his quick sprint finish.
- Full name: Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah, CBE OLY
- Profession: British Olympic athlete
- Born: 23 March 1983 (age 37 years), Mogadishu, Somalia
- Height: 1.75 m
- Weight: 58 kg
- Spouse: Tania Nell (m. 2010)
- University team: St Mary’s University College Twickenham London
- Olympic medals: Athletics at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Men’s 5000 metres
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About Mo Farah
Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah was born on 23 March 1983 in Mogadishu, Somalia. Although Farah’s family was originally from Gabiley, they were living in Mogadishu, Somalia as his father was a businessman there.
After fleeing from Mogadishu to Gabiley with his family, Farah then spent his early childhood as a refugee in Djibouti with his twin brother.
He moved to Britain at the age of eight to join his father, speaking barely a word of English. His grandfather, Jama, was born in the British protectorate of Somaliland.
His father, Mukhtar Farah, is an IT consultant and a British citizen, who was born in London and grew up in Hounslow.
When growing up he got a job at McDonald’s. Farah attended Isleworth and Syon School, and Feltham Community College.
His athletic talent was first identified by physical education teacher Alan Watkinson. Farah’s ambition was to become a car mechanic or play as a right winger for Arsenal football club. He later joined the Borough of Hounslow Athletics Club in west London.
Farah went on to be based in London and ran for Newham and Essex Beagles athletics club, training at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham from 2001 to 2011.
Farah is the European record holder for the 1500 m, 10,000 m, half marathon, marathon, and two miles, the British record holder for the 5000 m, the European indoor record holder for 5000 m, the British indoor record in the 3000 m and the current indoor world record holder for the two miles.
Farah is the most decorated athlete in British athletics history, with ten global titles, and was the first British athlete to win two gold medals at the same world championships, although Dame Kelly Holmes had achieved the feat at an Olympic Games.
His five gold medals at the European Athletics Championships make him the most successful athlete in individual events in the championships’ history.
He has won the European Athlete of the Year award and the British Athletics Writers Association British Athlete of the Year award more than any other athlete, three times and six times respectively.
Farah was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2013 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to athletics.
He won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:05:11, a European record.