Still head and shoulders above all but one of his rivals, Sir Mo Farah found the perfect way to overcome the agony of missing out on another gold medal at the World Athletics Championship as he reclaimed his trademark ‘Mobot’ celebration.
Farah wept on the track as he snatched a silver medal in his final major race of a glittering career, and having clocked a time of 13:33 in the exhausting 5,000m race, the four-time Olympic champion said he had given ‘everything I had’ in front of a rapturous home crowd.
There was controversy before the race as US runner Paul Chelimo made a ‘death to Mobot’ gesture as the cameras panned along the competitors, but he was back to show the celebration shall live on, in the most unlikely spot at sunrise on Sunday.
Mo Farah won gold for Great Britain in the 10,000m at the London Stadium last Friday and remains the country’s No 1 athlete
The 34-year-old, who is due to retire from the track at the end of the month, stood atop the London Eye on Sunday morning
After suffering the agony of defeat in his final race, the last place you may have expected Farah to be was on the London Eye
Farah has been a known star since claiming gold in the 5,000m at the World Championships in Daegu six years ago
Towering over the capital’s skyline, Farah stood arms outstretched atop the London Eye as he brought the curtain down on an illustrious sporting career in his home city.
While the world’s tallest Ferris wheel was superseded by the Shard as the highest public viewing point in London in 2013 – Farah’s legacy as Britain’s most successful track athlete in modern Olympic Games history could stand for some time.
As with Usain Bolt in the ensuing men’s 4x100m relay, Farah was denied the fairytale end as he failed to mount a second defence of his world title, but the 34-year-old’s infectious grin was once more on show in the early hours of Sunday.
Farah has brought so much joy to thousands of British track hopefuls looking to follow in his footsteps, but this was not the final chapter of his career with the runner set to turn his full attention to marathons after an emotional night at a venue that brought him one of his finest hours.
Sir Mo surveys his home town and home stadium from the best viewpoint in the city, atop the London Eye
The 34-year-old icon stands arms outstretched above the world’s tallest Ferris wheel by the Houses of Parliament
Farah has tasted nothing but success to finish a career with five European triumphs, six world titles and four Olympic golds
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, hailed the impact of Farah on British athletics, tweeting after the race on Saturday night: ‘You’re a London hero @Mo_Farah! An honour to watch your last track race #mobot.’
Farah’s devastation was palpable as the Stratford stadium was stunned into silence, many of those inside having come to see a final celebration for both he and Bolt.
He admitted: ‘I had tears in my eyes, I’ve never had that before. It’s been an amazing journey. To end it in London, where it all started, I got a bit emotional.
‘I look at my family, what I’ve done and it gets to you. At the end of the day I’m human and it hasn’t all been a smooth ride.
‘If I had it perfect it would have been nice to end in double double but anything is possible. At some point it has to come to an end.
‘I always told myself London is where it started and London was where it was going to stop. I was known as normal Mo and then overnight after London I was ‘Mo’, I couldn’t go anywhere. To finish here is a nice thing.
Along the River Thames, Farah was greeted by clear skies as London woke up following an eventful night of athletics
Farah stands in the foreground with Big Ben resplendent in all its glory behind him during the early-morning
Before clambering above the London Eye, Farah stood next to a wax figure from Madame Tussauds doing his celebration
‘I know myself when I crossed the line there was nothing left of me, nothing. I gave my all. Over the years it has worked and I crossed the line first, but not tonight.’
This World Athletics Championships has been full of shocks and surprises, and the unpredictable nature of sport only served to underline the extent of his previous achievements.
The tributes came pouring in for Farah after his farewell race, with Daley Thompson describing him as ‘one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time’ after the Briton brought his major championship career on the track to a close in London.
Farah was unable to make it the perfect send-off in the World Championships 5,000m final, after the Diamond League final in Zurich later this month, he will focus on the marathon.
Double Olympic champion Thompson, who won gold in the decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Games, believes Farah’s legacy will live long in the memory for British athletics fans.
The popular figure reclaimed his iconic pose by climbing to the very top of the London Eye on a crisp Sunday morning
Farah does the ‘Mobot’ against the backdrop of Westminster after coming agonisingly close to the perfect farewell result
Having shown his emotional side following the heartbreak of a first defeat in a major final since 2011, Farah was back smiling
Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris denied Farah the perfect send-off by claiming gold but the Brit is still head and shoulders above most
Farah missed out on fifth consecutive distance double having won the 10,000m race only eight days ago in his home city
‘For me, Mo has been a great hero for everybody,’ Thompson said on BBC One. ‘You can’t take anything away from his career, he’s been absolutely brilliant.
‘It’s not the way he would have wanted to go out, but it’s not a bad way to go. He’ll look back in a couple of weeks and think: ‘It’s been awesome’.
‘You remember him not making the Olympic final in 2008, and here we are, looking at one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time. We’ve seen that complete transformation from zero to hero, unbelievable.’
This was his last championship race, but a first first defeat since August 2011 created an even stronger bond between himself and the British public.
Standing above one of the capital’s most visited landmarks dressed all in white, Farah shone over London again, just as he did five years ago.
His winning run was ended with a silver in the 5,000m London, a fitting setting for his major championship track farewell
The athletics legend gave his all in front of a rapturous home crowd, but ended up in a disappointing second place
Heading into the final 100m, it was a four-man race with Farah boxed in by Edris, American Paul Chelimo and Selemon Barega
Sir Mo is applauded by staff and spectators as he leaves the track with his son after taking silver in the 5,000m