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Not Just a Good Athlete

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Mo Farah 5,000m

 

12/8/12 - Blog by Craig Pickering

Well that’s it. All the athletics that is to take part in the London Olympic Stadium is finished. We just have one event left, the men’s marathon tomorrow. It was a great, although very short, night in the stadium - and a fitting end to an amazing nine days of incredibly high quality athletics.

From Team GB’s point of view, we had people competing in two tracks events, and two road events. Mo Farah had an awesome night. winning the 5000m in 13.41.66. In completing the 10000m and 5000m double at these Games, Mo became one of the greatest British distance runners. Mo illustrates that sometimes to achieve greatness you need to make some hard decisions. At the start of 2011, Mo decided that he wasn’t happy with just being a good athlete; he wanted to become an amazing athlete. He decided to relocate, not just himself but his wife and child too, to Portland in the USA to work with a new coach, Alberto Salazar. The attention to detail they go to is staggering, but it shows what is required to win an Olympic Games. I’m sure the time spent in a cryogenic chamber at -40 degrees isn’t fun, but its things like that which can make all the difference.

In the 4x400m final, Team GB’s female quartet ran their fastest time of the year, coming 5th in 3.24.76. USA put in a dominating performance, winning by almost four seconds. Allyson Felix clocked a storming 47.8 seconds on her leg, which is an incredible performance. Her ability across all the sprint events is unparalleled (although might come under threat if Bolt of Gay did more 400s).

Off the track this morning and early evening were the men’s 50km and women’s 20km walks. Team GB’s Dominic King finished in 51st place. It was always going to be difficult for Dominic, as he had to achieve an eight minute PB just to qualify for these Games. He still performed well, crossing the line in his third fastest time ever. There was disappointment for Jo Jackson in the 20km walk, as she was disqualified on the fourth lap.

There was one of the surprises of the Olympics in the Javelin, as World Junior Champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago won with a National Record of 84.54m. Trinidad and Tobago is not usually a nation known for throwers, which makes this win even more of a surprise. To prove things had gone crazy, there was also a Kenyan in the final!

The night was finished off in style with another World Record. This time it came from Jamaica in the 4x100m relay. The were pushed all the way by the US team (who also equaled the previous world record) until Bolt got the baton on last leg, and he strode away to cross the line in 36.84 seconds – the first ever sub-37 performance. In recent years, Jamaica has re-written the record books in the sprint relay. Until 2008, the World Record was 37.40 seconds, by the US team. Since the Beijing Olympics, Jamaica has broken the WR four times, taking over half a second off the original time. And they do this with changeovers that are average at best. In the last changeover on Saturday, Usain Bolt actually CHANGED hands with the baton. This is the first thing you are taught not to do at primary school, and here is the world’s fastest man doing it on the biggest stage of all!

To finish it all off, two of the biggest stars of this Olympics met up on the podium to rip off each other’s moves. If you didn't spot Bolt and 'Bot' exchanging poses then you'll find it in pretty much every newspaper today.