Mo Farah has insisted that it is hard work and not drugs which has made him a winner.
In a sport amidst lasting controversy due to constant breakthroughs, involving countless amounts of drugs cheats, it is a formality to question the very best performers in athletics.
In a summer riddled with the unveiling of sprint drugs cheats such as Asafa Powell, and Tyson Gay, Usain Bolt has been under close scrutiny whilst having to frequently protest his innocence to the media.
But the World and Olympic distance double gold medallist is now also under interrogation from sceptics.
In an interview, Farah reciprocated with a remark of his own: “I work hard at what I do, If I didn’t I wouldn’t be up here in the mountains, spending more than six months a year away from my wife and kids. That’s why it hurts.”
Before 2010, Farah was considered mediocre on the world stage. This was until he won the European double in Barcelona after a move to America under his current coach Alberto Salazar. Since then, Farah’s physical and tactical progression has been on a dramatic incline, a progression of which Farah dedicates to his hard work.
“I go through a lot of painful things. There are sessions when I will be on my back afterwards, crawling. I’ll come home and my wife Tania will say: ‘Whatever’s wrong? You look like you’re in agony.’ ”
After indulging in two years of medal madness, he has become untouchable, ranked amongst the likes of Haile Gebresalassie, and Kenenisa Bekele, as the greatest of all time.
But after competing on the world stage for most of his career, surely he will have been frequently tested for banned substances throughout his training and racing calendar? “All of this hurts, because deep down I know that I’m probably the most tested athlete in the world. I have to give up a one-hour slot every day, no matter where I am on the planet.”
What may seem frustrating to fans are the stains which have been left on the sport by those not willing to play by the rules. In football, for example, Cristiano Ronaldo is only praised for his god given ability, but never questioned about how he acquired his frightening speed and agility, something track and field athletes have to comprehend with more regularly.
With such admiration for his family along with such a humble personality, it ‘s hard to believe he would ever want to run the risk of eradicating their pride and reputation by using performance enhancers. However, this same quiet humble personality was also adopted by Tyson Gay, just one of the latest absences in a losing battle against drugs.
Surely Farah wouldn’t devote so much time spent away from his, if there was the risk of being banned for not two years, but four, now the rule has been raised.
“The twins have just turned one-year-old and when I went back home they didn’t know who I was. I picked one of them up, said: ‘Hey!’ and she just started crying.
“As a parent, that hurt. You want to be able to be there for your kids, to be close to them, to have that bond. This is my job but at the same time I try to be a good person, to teach my children well.”
But let’s just say this; if Farah was ever to be found guilty then he would not only sink the hopes of the athletes of tomorrow who believe that hard work will get you to the top, a message he himself regularly preaches, but he could also damage the sport entirely.
After the Olympics, athletics has been able to gain more publicity than ever before. Bolt and Farah have expertly captured what the sport needs by incorporating celebrations which act as potential sales tools. Off the back of the Olympics, both athletes have gained the same celebrity status that many mainstream sports have also produced, but only time will tell as to whether this will continue in a bid to banish drugs from our sport.