Farah wins Euro athlete of year prize
PARIS - Agence France-PresseBritain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah has been voted the European Athlete of the Year for the second straight year.
Farah, who pulled off the 5,000/10,000 metres double in London, is just the second athlete to win back-to-back European Athlete of the Year awards after Swedish triple jumper Christian Olsson in 2003 and 2004.
The 29-year-old Somali-born distance runner defended his European 5000m title in Helsinki to become the first man to win consecutive gold medals over the distance at the European Athletics Championships.
Six weeks later, he captivated the 80,000 capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium with two wins executed in spectacular fashion with blistering finishes over the last lap to become the first Briton to win Olympic titles in long distance running events.
He became the seventh man, and fifth European, to do the distance double in the history of the Olympics, but the first to achieve such a feat in front of a home audience.
However, for the first few months of the 2012, such an emotional and climactic end to the year didn’t seem possible.
He won only one of his four indoor competitions and, although he did set a European indoor two miles best, he also finished out of the medals in fourth place over 3000m at the World Indoor Championships.
Once the outdoor season started though, Farah showed his true colours.
He won over 5000m at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene in 12:56.98 in early June, the best time by a European runner this year, and never looked back thereafter.
Farah’s feats will be recognized at the European Athletics Awards Night in St Julians, Malta, on Oct. 13 alongside those of the women’s winner of the European Athlete of the Year award, Jessica Ennis.
French athletes took second and third place for the European award, behind Farah through pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and sprinter Christophe Lemaitre.