Mo Farah defends 10,000-meter Olympic title

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Tripped or not, it seems nothing can stop Mo Farah over 10,000 meters in a major championship.

Not his training partner clipping his heel in the Olympic final. Not the assembled power of Kenya's best trying to wear him down. Not the final kick of his rival, Paul Tanui. Farah proved again that he is in a league all his own and right up there with the greatest in history.

In a thrilling Olympic final, the Somali-born British runner even had time to put his hands on top of his head in the trademark "Mobot'' sign, as well-known to distance runners as Usain Bolt's "to the world'' move.

"It's never easy, but everyone knows what I can do,'' Farah said. "I thought about all my hard work and that it could all be gone in a minute.''

Farah now has three Olympic gold medals from two Olympics and is preparing for the defense of his 5,000-meter title. He's a good bet to win, considering he has gold in all major races over the distance dating to 2011.

That said, he'd welcome a simpler race next Saturday. All was going to plan early on in the 10,000m, when Farah was safely running in the pack with his American training partner, Galen Rupp. Then, after 10 laps, Rupp clipped Farah's heel, and he was down.

"I bumped into him. There was a lot of pushing,'' Rupp said. Suddenly, Farah's path to a gold medal was significantly more difficult.

"It did take a lot out of me,'' Farah said in a postrace interview with the BBC. "I knew how hard I've worked, and I wasn't going to let that go.''

Then the Kenyans chimed in. Farah is known for his unmatched finishing kick, so wearing him down is the only way to win. After his fall, they perhaps thought they stood a chance, but not this time.

Even when three Kenyans tried to push away from the pack with spurts of acceleration, there was no shaking Farah off.

"It was hard to pick myself up, but I believed in myself and the work I went through,'' he said.

He took the lead with one kilometer to go, and usually that means the race is over. This time, Tanui would not let go. A bunch of four trailed Farah at the bell, and Tanui saw his chance to finally break Farah's hold on long-distance racing down the back straight.

No way. Farah produced yet another comeback, and once he swerved past Tanui going into the final straight, he might as well have started his victory lap. He won in 27 minutes, 5.17 seconds. Tanui held on for silver in 27:05.64, and Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia took bronze.

Farah fell to the track at the finish, face down, trying hard to take it all in. A back-to-back long-distance double at the Olympics is a feat not achieved since Finn Lasse Viren did it the 1970s.