Olympic Men’s 10,000m Final
Part 3 of the year’s highlights finally brings us to the holy grail of global Athletics, the Olympic Games.
We may be making more than one stop at these Games before this highlights series is over. But this is the first, and this one is looking back at the Men’s 10,000m final.
4 August 2012
A magical Saturday evening in August. The height of summer. An incredible atmosphere swirling in the stadium of the blue riband sport of the Olympics.
Home ground advantage to Mo Farah. Years of build-up had come down to this. The challenge of the 5,000m may have loomed large on the horizon, but tonight was about only one thing, his first battle with sporting immortality, in the 10,000m.
Alongside him, and to the undoubted benefit of both runners, he had his training partner of recent years, and good friend, Galen Rupp. Their coach, Alberto Salazar was trackside, providing a calming influence on his athletic charges. Salazar was also there to shout splits and information during the race. His duo was taking on the might of distance running, currently residing in a small section of the planet we like to mark as East Africa. Kenya and Ethiopia. Mo and Galen would be attempting to wrestle a small portion of the global distance running magic away from East Africa and redistribute it in the western world, specifically in the UK and USA.
There are many excellent reports on the race itself and how it unfolded. Here’s what happened in a few badly worded sentences. The race went out slow; the Bekele brothers went to the front for a while and then slipped back into the pack. Then the Eritreans took up the running and Tadese took it out hard. You knew from then it was unlikely to slow much. Allegedly Galen was a bit antsy at this point and wanted to close the gap. Mo calmed him down and told him to save everything for the last lap. And so it went. The race ground everyone but the contenders out and on the final lap Mo unleashed his kick. The Bekeles went with him, Galen momentarily losing ground over the first 200. Galen came storming back over the final 200 as the Bekeles, first Kenenisa and then Tariku fell off Mo’s vicious kick. In the final 50m Galen was possibly the strongest of all, but Mo had it won and looked as though he may have had a drop more in the tank, albeit on the red line, should any “leaning over the precipice and looking into precisely nothing” be required.
Wikipedia’s typically factual and readable version is here. Here is another write up, by The Guardian this time. Or is the Telegraph more your cup of tea perhaps? The point is there are lots a great accounts.
And there are lots of great accounts because it was big news. Massive news. Huge news. The kind of news that turns runner’s names into household names, even if only for a few months until the football season starts up again. But I’m not going to be cynical. Mo’s run is worth more than that.
And behind him (and just behind him at that) Galen’s run was worth as much again. The image of Galen beating everyone besides Mo was one of my favourite images from the Olympics. Let’s work through that again. He beat both Bekele brothers, Tariku and Kenenisa. He beat all the Kenyans. He won a medal at the sport’s highest table.
What about Alberto Salazar? Surely the last word has to go to him. His charges finished first and second. They took on the best the world had to offer and they beat them.
YouTube has the entire race archived for your viewing pleasure.
If you have the time I recommend watching it again. If you live in the UK, it is mandatory. Watch it now or face the downright unpleasantness of me turning up at your front door tonight to find out why you didn’t. The reason better be good.
The race was special and the moment was special. For Mo, for Galen and for their many supporters who had followed their respective paths to witness this night, at the pinnacle of their craft.
I don’t have much more to add. This was my emotional highlight of the Games and of the year.
Here are the results to savour one more time.
|1||Mo Farah||Great Britain||
|2||Galen Rupp||United States||
|13||Dathan Ritzenhein||United States||
|17||Moukheld Al-Outaibi||Saudi Arabia||
|19||Matthew Tegenkamp||United States||
|25||Christopher Thompson||Great Britain||
|Ali Hasan Mahboob||Bahrain||
Highlights of 2012. Part 1. NIA Indoor 2-mile
Highlights of 2012. Part 2. Big City Marathons