EXCLUSIVE: Sir Mo Farah, by those who know him best- Dick Fisher
In an exclusive mini-series, Sports Gazette speaks to friends, former training partners and coaches of Sir Mo Farah about his career highlights and ambitions!
“I was in the Olympic Stadium with my son when he won the 10,000 metres and when he finished and won, my legs were shaking.”
This is the way Dick Fisher remembers one of the greatest achievements by Farah, a former student of his.
Since Farah trained at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, Fisher has been Head of St. Mary’s 2012 Preparations and Sport Strategy but has fond memories of Farah’s time at the university.
Like Steve Cram, a personal highlight for Fisher is Farah’s 10,000 metre gold medal race at the London Olympics in 2012 as it brought those fond memories back.
Speaking at the St. Mary’s track naming event in Farah’s honour, Fisher said: “I was thinking back to this little 17-year-old, who appeared in 2001 with James McIlroy from Northern Ireland.
“His coach had an office which was really a broom cupboard over on the far side. Mo didn’t have anywhere to live so he moved into a room here.
“11 years on, to be standing there and he becomes Olympic champion was just unreal!”
Whilst marvelling at these achievements, Fisher remains confident that Farah will be aiming for more this season.
“This is his last summer on track, as he said, and then he’s going to move up to marathon-running. He won’t be retiring,” Fisher said.
It’s a well-known fact that Farah admires the facilities available at St. Mary’s - he devotes a whole chapter to this in his autobiography ‘Twin Ambitions’.
Fisher confirmed this, saying Farah was in the St. Mary’s weights room not long ago.11 years on, to be standing there and he becomes Olympic champion was just unreal!”
He said: “The early morning sessions will be Bushy Park. The track sessions would be mid-morning, afternoon or early evening. Mo often comes in and out and nobody notices.
“Even Usain Bolt’s been down here. The great thing is they don’t ask, they just come because they know they can and they know they will be welcome.”
As Tom Bedford told us, Farah did like to get up to a bit of mischief on the St. Mary’s campus and Fisher told of his own experiences in this regard with Farah.
Fisher said: “I was just reminding him. He was given a small sponsored car, something like an Alfa Romeo. I saw him driving it when one of the runners said ‘Have you been with Mo in his car?’ So I said ‘No.’ and they said ‘DON’T TAKE A LIFT - he’s mad!'
“His speed wasn’t only on the track - it was in his car as well!”
For the rest of the mini-series, follow the links below:
Track legend and BBC athletics commentator Steve Cram
St. Mary's Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre (EPACC) training partner Tom Bedford
EPACC Technical Director of Endurance Zara Hyde Peters
EPACC coach Craig Winrow