‘I had promised my kids Hussein and Rhianna that I'd win them a gold medal each, so there was no way I could let them down’
Four-time Olympic champion distance runner Mo Farah has revealed that the promise he made to his two kids of bringing back a gold medal each for them from Rio Olympics gave him extra motivation to win both the 5,000 and 10,000m races.
"Leading up to the Olympics I was injury free and my training had gone well, so I went into the Games feeling good and confident. But four years is a long time in athletics. I'm getting older and it gets harder to recover between sessions, so I didn't take anything for granted when it came to retaining my golds," said the 33-year-old.
"At the same time, you have to believe you can do it. I kept reminding myself about the hard yards I'd put in – 120 miles a week, training longer and harder than my rivals. That gave me confidence. Plus, I had promised my kids Hussein and Rhianna that I'd win them a gold medal each, so there was no way I could let them down!"
Recalling one particular moment from Rio that will remain in his mind for ever, Mo Farah narrated, "When I tripped in the 10k – that was honestly one of the hardest races of my life, so falling over nearly finished my chances there and then. The whole thing happened so quickly and all I could think about was all the hard work of training and sacrifice going to waste.
"I was lucky it happened quite early on and was able to get back up, to get my composure back and then get back up to speed for the final kick. When I crossed the line I was absolutely shattered - physically and emotionally exhausted. It was so great to have my wife Tania and daughter Rhianna in the crowd to celebrate with me afterwards."
On whether he agrees with all those who are describing him as the greatest ever distance runner, Mo Farah said, "It's every athletes' dream to have your name in the history books. I never thought I would be up there alongside the sporting greats like Haile Gebrselassie. As a junior, I only thought one medal was possible, so to win four Olympic titles and five World Championship medals is a dream come true.
"I will leave it to others to judge where I rank against the others, but it's great to be compared to some of the legends of the sport," Mo Farah, who idolises Muhammad Ali, said.
Mo Farah said he was looking forward to peaking at the World Championships in London this summer.
"I would love to end my track career by winning gold in the Olympic Stadium – going back to the place where I had my greatest ever moments during London 2012. After the World Championships, I'll start looking at what I can do on the road and I've said before that I want to focus on the marathon.
Asked if his fans might see him run in the marathon in 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Mo Farah said: "Never say never."
Mo Farah, who has been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, said to compete for an award alongside some of the world's best was a "huge honour".
"Everyone in my category -- Usain (Bolt), Andy (Murray) LeBron (James) – are at the top of their game and these guys will go down as true greats of their sport. To have my name amongst them is very special."