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 rival Paul Tanui.
Farah, with thoughts of his daughter Rihanna flashing through his mind, proved again he is in a league of his own at the moment — and right up there with the greatest in history.
“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, running for Great Britain, has three Olympic gold medals from two Olympics and is preparing for the defense of his 5,000 title next week. A good bet considering he has gold in all major races over the distance going back to 2011.
Although he would surely welcome a little simpler race next Saturday, when he has a chance to become the first man to win back-to-back Olympic long-distance doubles since Finnish great Lasse Viren in the 1970s.
All was going well early on in the 10,000, when Farah was safely running in the pack with American training partner Galen Rupp. Then, after 10 laps, Rupp clipped Farah’s heel and the defending champion was down.
“When I fell down. For one moment I was thinking, ‘Oh my race is over, my dream is over,’ ” Farah said.
Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price didn’t fare as well in her title defense in the women’s 100-meter final.
Elaine Thompson, another Jamaican, routed the field in 10.71 seconds, with Fraser-Pryce taking bronze in 10.86. American Tori Bowie was second with a time of 10.83.
At 24, more than five years younger than Fraser-Price, Thompson showed a changing of the guard doesn’t have to mean a redrawing of the map.
What was billed as one of the most competitive finals in the history of the event turned into something of a non-race. Thompson made it that way.
Running about even halfway through the 100 meters, she pulled away from Bowie for a .12-second victory — a gap big enough to scoot a bookcase between her and the American.