While he only has limited say in how history will judge his distance running career, Mo Farah is determined to succeed where Usain Bolt failed in going out on a high.
The 34-year-old is at the legacy-glossing end of his time, with Saturday’s 5,000m marking his final championship race on a track. He will take part in Diamond League races in Birmingham and Zurich, but as far as meaningful exercises, this final in London is it.
To look purely at the numbers, it has been a quite incredible career, with 10 successive global titles an adequate balance to criticisms that he never entered the world-record books with his times, but the medals are only ever going to be part of his narrative, at least until there are conclusive answers to the important questions about his coach, Alberto Salazar, who is under investigation by USADA.
Mo Farah is determined to succeed where Usain Bolt failed in going out on a high in London
Bolt’s final 100m race saw him win bronze while Justin Gatlin took the gold medal
Farah is legacy-glossing, with the 5,000m marking his final championship race on a track
That much is out of his control, and certainly out of his comfort zone to judge his public handling of the situation, but the track tonight will form some level of sanctuary.
For Farah, the onus is on ending as an indestructible force, rather than like Bolt, whose great career was concluded with a 100m defeat on the night the Brit won his 10,000m gold.
‘It is important to finish on a high,’ said Farah. ‘I want to leave on a high because that’s the perfect note. It is emotional but it has been long, a long career. You guys have seen me since I was a child, running around, going to the English Schools. To come this far has been incredible.
‘It ain’t easy. You have seen that with Usain Bolt. It would have been nice to see him win but it doesn’t just happen. No-one is going to give it to you, no matter who you are. It would be pretty amazing to bow out with another double gold but these guys are coming for me.’