THE ATHLETIC WORLD’S unlikely duo have agreed in principle to racing against each other in a unique charity challenge.
Mo Farah issued a challenge to Usain Bolt over the weekend and the Jamaican sprinter accepted, if he can find the time. The athletes both won double gold medals in their respective fields at the London Olympics and bonded on the track together, soaking up the crowd’s acclaim.
Somali-born Farah is very much the family man while Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is known for his fun-loving and party-attending nature. He was snapped at London 2012 enjoying late-night boogies with members of the Swedish women’s handball team.
The pair were reunited at the Anniversary Games in London over the weekend and Farah mooted the race of champions prospect. He told Sky Sports News:
It would be great to be able to do a distance where people phone in and get voting. It would be great to know, from proper athletics fans, what distance would be suitable. Then get a judge and [meet] in the middle and train for it.”
“Bolt,” he added, “are you up for that? Come on, we’ve got to do it.”
Farah, the Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion, believes a distance of 1,500m would be too much for Bolt’s sprinting sensibilities. Bolt, who defended his 100m and 200m golds at London 2012, mentioned his busy calendar when Sky showed him the Farah video but he warmed to the challenge.
“For me,” he said, “that sounds fun. It’s charity and that’s what it is all about — fun. I’m up for anything if it is possible.”
Bolt agreed that 1,500m would be out of his competitive range. He added, “600m, for sure, I can try because I’ve done 600 in training but 800m is still too far for me. Mo’s got stamina, he’s also got speed.”
The last time two Olympic champions met in a once-off race was in 1997 when Donovan Bailey defeated Michael Johnson over 150m at the Toronto Skydome. Johnson, the 200m and 400m champion from Atlanta 1996, was trailing when he pulled up with an apparent quad injury.
A triumphant Bailey declared, “He didn’t pull up. He’s a chicken; he’s afraid to lose. I think what they should do is run this whole race over again so I can kick his ass one more time.”