‘Is it because of my color?’ Mo Farah’s victim act is wearing thin over links to disgraced coach Salazar
Farah has been forced on the defensive after it emerged that the British four-time Olympic champion issued denials to US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials over an injection of L-carnitine before the London Marathon in 2014, only to then change his story and admit he had been given the substance.
The story has renewed the scrutiny over Farah’s links to disgraced former coach Salazar, who was handed a four-year ban in 2019 over doping violations.
Farah trained with Salazar between 2011 and 2017, remaining loyal to the American even after accusations of wrongdoing were initially leveled against him in 2015.Also on rt.com Mo Farah’s reputation is unravelling, so let’s stop tiptoeing around and hear the full story of his ties with disgraced Salazar
The latest setback to Farah’s reputation came when a BBC Panorama documentary revealed that the distance runner, who also has six world titles to his name, told USADA officials investigating Salazar in 2015 that he had not been given an injection of L-carnitine, a performance-enhancing substance which is legal in small doses, on Salazar's orders ahead of the London Marathon in the previous year.
On immediately consulting with an official from UK Athletics, Farah then admitted to investigators that he had been given L-carnitine, claiming it had simply slipped his mind.
To add further confusion to the case, UK Athletics’ chief medical officer at the time failed to note the injection in official records, asserting we should take his word for it that the dose was within legal limits.
Amid all this scandal Farah has gone on a PR charm offensive, the latest act of which involved speaking to UK newspaper the Sunday Mirror from his training camp in Ethiopia.
But as in previous cases, Farah’s protestations of complete innocence have involved portraying himself as the main victim, when what we really need are more answers from a man given a knighthood in 2017 for his track achievements.
“It’s not fair on my kids and my family. It’s just not right. It’s depressing. Mentally and physically it’s had an effect on me,” Farah told the Mirror.
“It has made me question if I’m a bad person. Is it against me? Is it because of my color? It makes you question everything and that’s annoying and damaging.”
The racism card is one Farah played with journalists back in October of 2019, soon after Salazar was banned for four years along with a consultant doctor for administering a banned intravenous infusion, trafficking testosterone, and tampering with the doping control process.
Farah was not named by USADA in the case against Salazar, and has insisted he knew nothing of any shady goings-on at the now defunct Nike Oregon Project headed by the coach.
“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, but I’ve always done the right thing,” Farah, 36, told the Mirror.
“I was 100 per cent convinced I hadn’t taken it (L-carnitine before the London Marathon). In my mind I hadn’t taken anything else apart from magnesium. I put magnesium on the doping control form.
“I can sleep at night knowing I’ve done nothing wrong.”
But based on Farah’s latest sob story, people feeling sorry for him appears to be exactly what he is striving for.
He has claimed he is willing to cooperate with any additional investigations into his links with Salazar, all the while bemoaning the “unfair” treatment of his “private information” being reported in the press.
“It’s not fair USADA are giving my private information out. How does my stuff get leaked? It’s not fair, it’s like it’s one rule for one and another rule forothers.”
That smacks of a man confused as to why people would be interested in finding out the full facts of how a national hero emerged under the stewardship of a coach now serving a four-year doping ban.
Indeed, it also contradicts Farah's frequent claims that he "totally understands" why there are questions about his ties to Salazar.
"Sadly he crossed the line in what he was doing. I’m not responsible for him or his actions. Am I human? Yes. Do I make mistakes? Yes. But every one of us do. At the end of the day it’s a legal supplement and everything I ever did went through UK Athletics to check it was OK,” Farah has pleaded.
We are all human, yes, but we are not all decorated Olympians with links to a now-disgraced former coach banned for doping violations.
“Panorama only tells half the story. They make out like I’m hiding something, but I’ve nothing to hide," Farah continued in his PR push.
"I’ve been tested 100 times and I’m more than happy to go back through my tests. I will overcome this, continue to go out there and make people proud. I love what I do and no one can take that away.”
But if only half the story has been told, surely it’s on Farah to ensure we hear the full version, or else the questions and doubts will only escalate.
By Liam Tyler