Rio 2016: Mo Farah overcomes early fall to retain 10,000M title

An early fall threatened to end the defending champion's bid for repeat gold, but he recovered to finish strong and retain his Olympic title.

Rio 2016: Mo Farah overcomes early fall to retain 10,000M title
Rio 2016: Mo Farah overcomes early fall to repeat as 10,000 meters champion (UK)

Mo Farah won his second straight gold medal in the 10,000 meters, overcoming an early fall to sprint past his rivals for the gold medal at the Rio Olympics. He withstood a stiff challenge from his rivals from Kenyans and Ethiopians for his third Olympic gold.

Challengers to Farah

The defending champion and two-time world champion over 10,000 meters was the clear favorite. Among his chief rivals were Geoffrey Kamworor, the 2015 World Championships silver medalist. Also expected to be a factor was Farah's friend and training partner Galen Rupp, the silver medalist behind Farah in London. Also expected to contend were 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Paul Tanui as well as Bedan Muchiri and Yigrem Demelash. 

Modest pace set, Farah gains on early contenders

As is his custom, Farah sat at the back of the pack while Kamworor and Tanui were near the front in the opening stages of the race, behind early leader of Luis Ostos.

The pace of the race was medium with the field slowly becoming spread out within the first seven meters. Farah began to make his move at this point with Muchiri not far behind.

Farah caused chaos within the rest of the field by briefly going to the front, which caused several to move forward. He then laid back, letting several runners go ahead of him, but was surrounded by the Kenyan trio with 17 laps to go; that lap proving to be the quickest yet

The ten minute mark saw the field spread out even more, the pace slightly quickening. Demelash was in second, with Kamworor in fourth and Farah in fifth, Muchiri and Tenui around them.

Farah gets tripped up, recovers unharmed as pace continues to pick up

The 11th minute saw Farah stunningly fall, an accidental collision with Rupp, though the defendkng champion was almost immediately back on his feet.

Thanks to Tamirat Tola, Muchiri and Kamworor the field was widening even more, lap times now at 64 seconds. With the likes of Farah, Rupp, and the Kenyan trio all in the top 15 at around the halfway stage.

Kamworor, Tenui, and Muchiri took the lead on the 15th lap with Tenui dropping back to fifth to cover Farah and Demelash ahead of him. The Kenyan trio took turns in leading with Muchiri first slowing the pace down then picking it up again.

Six laps remained and Farah was sitting on the shoulder of Kamworor and a brief trip to the front for the Brit saw Demelash and Tola retake the lead.

The pack of runners in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics/Photo: David J. Philip/AP
The pack of runners in the 10,000 meters at the Olympics/Photo: David J. Philip/AP

The final stretch

The final five laps saw times of 62 seconds as the Ethiopian duo pressed on, a group of themselves, Farah, Tenui and Rupp formed; Kamworor and Muchiri were now well back and no longer factors in the race.

1,000 meters were now left and Farah made his move to the front of the pack and was now in the lead with just two laps to go.

As the final lap approached, the pace began to grow, Demalash was now all but out of it.. With around 300 meters to go Tenui decided to go for it, a risky gamble that didn't pay off as Farah caught him and eased to the finish, winning a third gold medal in a time of 27:05.17.

Tenui's gallant effort saw him pick up silver, Tola the bronze medal winner. Demelash was fourth, while Rupp finished in fifth.

Mo Farah crosses the finish line just ahead of Paul Tanui to repeat as champion of the 10,000 meters/Photo: Getty Images
Mo Farah crosses the finish line just ahead of Paul Tanui to repeat as champion of the 10,000 meters/Photo: Getty Images