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Modern Britain's Sporting Icon: Mo Farah


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Mo Farah’s run a lot of miles, he’s got his own celebration AND he’s won the ‘double double’ (four golds). Born in Mogadishu, raised in Hounslow, Mo Farah has risen to the status of icon on and off the track.- a modern Olympian for a Modern Britain.

This summer he became only the second man in history to retain both distance track titles, placing him above the likes of endurance royalty like Kenenisa Bekele and Haille Gabreselasie. And the manner of victory was even more impressive. Is there anything the British public love more than an ‘underdog’? Falling in the final of the 10,000m only to somehow catch and overtake the others. It was like a scene from Rocky.


That’s the thing about Mo Farah. He’s taken an unfancied sport like distance running and thrust it into the psyche of the British public with a narrative every bit as good as Hollywood would have it. Leaving his country of birth and his brother at a young age to move to Britain, Farah blasted through the competition at age group but even then being a success at the world stage was no given.

Equally important is his cultural impact. Afterall, in a post-Brexit Britain, where hate crime is soaring, symbols of multiculturalism are arguably more important than ever. Mo Farah’s success stands goes beyond individual achievement, representing the value and wealth of diversity in our society at a time when that is being questioned. Indeed, he’s iconic for what he’s achieved and for what he represents.

British dominance in sports like cycling and rowing is impressive, but Farah’s success stands out as one person, taking on the big dominant forces in that field and winning. Impressive Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes have been swept aside by what feels like a force of nature. When you’ve got discourse and debate focussing on the differences in society, having a figure like Mo Farah in the public eye can only be a good thing. Whatever you want to say are ‘British values’ the determination to succeed and the manner in which he does is an example to anyone. 

Unfancied in Beijing, excellent in London, imperious in Rio. The arc in his story paints the kind of grit films are made of, and now there is one. If it gives any insight into what goes into making a British icon, it’s well worth the watch.

Tom Hanks even recorded this gem for him.


Better than that one you got Wagner to do for your pal, ey?

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