Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

SuperMo!

The nation has a new hero in the shape of Mo Farah who, after capturing our hearts with his impressive performances at London2012, winning 2 gold medals in the 10,000m and 5,000m, has now become a father to two adorable twin girls called Aisha and Amani.

Mo is the UK’s finest ever distance runner – a far cry from his humble beginnings in Somalia, arriving in London from Mogadishu at the age of 8 and speaking very little English.  He trained at St. Mary’s University College in Strawberry Hill, a place which played a huge part in my formative teenage years(!) but now lives in Portland, Oregon.

In the early days his passion was for football and his ambition was to play as a right winger for Arsenal – perhaps Arsene Wenger should consider adding him now to his decimated squad for this season – it would be quite something to see him doing “the Mobot” as a goal celebration at the Emirates!

Mo’s build up to Olympic glory started on 14 July 2012 when he was the first ever contestant (celebrity or otherwise) on ITV’s The Cube to win the top prize for his Foundation.  Mo managed to not only reach the final game but also had seven lives left (he had lost two lives in his first game.)  He won £250,000 only losing one more life in the final game.

And then, following his amazing performance in the Games, on 25th August came the birth of his baby girls.

During the games Farah said he wanted to win one gold for each unborn twin, adding: ‘If I only had one, the other would feel left out.’   and he has now vowed to engrave one of the twins’ names on each medal.

So, for the second time in weeks he has scored a glorious double and his trademark grin shows just what both these events mean to him.

Huge congratulations Mo – we salute you and wish you and your family all the best!

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“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…,”

There are many courageous stories from the Paralympics, but the one that has captured my interest today is that of swimmer Achmat Hassiem, who uses special motivation to go fast: he imagines being chased by the great white shark that bit off his right leg.

The South African was attacked by a shark off the coast of Cape Town six years ago after he lured the great white away from his younger brother.  Before then Hassiem had competed in various sports, including swimming, but wasn’t sure what to do after losing his leg.

It was South African Paralympic swimming champion Natalie du Toit who encouraged Hassiem to get back into the water. Before long, he started breaking his country’s Paralympic records. 

The 30-year-old Hassiem came to the London Paralympics determined to do better than his ninth-place finish at the Beijing Paralympics four years ago.  On Saturday, he won bronze in the men’s 100-meter butterfly. 

‘My little secret is obviously that I just try and imagine I’m in the ocean and I’ve got a 4 ½-meter great white shark at my feet,’ Hassiem said. ‘It’s definitely good motivation to swim fast.‘  With more than a little irony he added ‘I took to the pool like a shark in the ocean,’ .

Speaking after receiving his medal he said: ‘I believe I lost my leg for a good reason,’ he said.  ‘Losing a leg is nothing compared to losing my brother, so I’m just trying to make the best of it.’

And making the best of it he certainly is!  This, and of course the hundreds of other incredible stories we’ve heard during these Games, are an inspiration to us all.  Well done!

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