The argument about who is the country's greatest ever track and field athlete was put to bed in Rio as Mo Farah did the 5,000m and 10,000m double for the second successive Olympic Games, stretching his unbeaten run at major championships to five years in the process
BBC presenter Colin Jackson, who won two world 110m hurdles titles and Olympic silver while training under Malcolm Arnold at the University of Bath, says...
“I think we take it for granted, what Mo Farah does time and time and time again. I've no idea how he does that, mentally. The physical part of training you can always do, but that stress and strain on you as an athlete to keep coming back is huge – and yet he does it.
“Once you have that big breakthrough at a major championships then the next thing you are thinking is 'what else can I do?'. It's at that time that you start thinking about what your capabilities are for the next stage in your life – and not just in athletics. You've climb to the top of the pyramid and you are looking down on everybody. You keep pushing yourself and challenging yourself and when you are as good as someone like Mo, you keep winning. You know you will never get to the top of another pyramid in life where you can say 'I am the best in the world'. There is nothing else. Politicians can't say that, nobody can. Track and field, in that sense, is very definitive.
He believes he's the best but, importantly, his opponents know he believes that. When that happens then your opponents have lost because it's a case of: 'he is faster, he's got more endurance and has all the medals – oh well, he's going to beat me then'. You create that aura from being unbeatable. Someone will come along and beat Mo one day, and when that happens then the door opens and the whole dynamic of the event changes.
For Mo, the biggest challenge is to stay injury-fee. It could be an Achilles injury, which can come along later in your career and knocks you out for three or four months, meaning your racing for the season is done. He needs to maintain his ability to train hard because if he does that, then I don't see anybody who can beat him.
People like Mo and Usain Bolt are massively important because they give the next generation belief that if you do do well then you can still get the rewards. The sport might be going through hell and there is a lot of negativity [with drugs scandals], but there is still a positive side to it, witnessing greatness performing in the way that they do.”