Immigrant Runners Are Winning More Than Olympic Medals

On Saturday night, the British distance runner Mo Farah will try and become the first athlete to sweep the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races at consecutive Olympics since Finland’s Lasse Viren won both in 1972 and 1976. Farah has already found a heart-stopping way to pay homage to the Finn, albeit accidentally. Viren famously fell mid-race during the 10,000-meter in 1972 but managed to get up and still win. Forty-four years later, in the middle of last Saturday’s 10,000 in Rio, Farah got tangled up with the American runner Galen Rupp, his friend and sometime training partner, and went crashing onto the track. It briefly looked as though Farah’s race was over. But he sprang up, rejoined the pack, and won in the same way he’s dominated the biggest international races for a half-decade: by separating himself from runners still in the mix and entering the final lap with a blistering closing kick.

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