Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Haven't you run before, Mo?

I don't know why I find this so funny, because I don't normally like people being embarrassed but I watched this interview today laughing out loud (maybe because I love Mo and thought he handled it so well).

Mo Farah won the half-marathon in New Orleans on Sunday. He was interviewed by a local television anchor. Her enthusiasm and amazement at his win and course record is contagious even when we realize that she doesn't really understand the situation. I don't have an issue with people not knowing Mo (one of my favourite Olympians from the 2012 Olympics). However, I have an issue with a television station having a presenter interview him without letting her know that he is the reigning 5000m and 10000m Olympic champion. I think the station is more to blame than the presenter.

Had she known this, she wouldn't have asked "Haven't you run before? This isn't your first time." or told him that he is "off to a great start and what is next for you. Do you have any other races coming up".

I think you have to be British or a track or Olympic fan to know him - or have seen the viral Tumblr account showing Mo Running Away From Things where they took photos of him from the Olympics and photoshopped them into other scenes like this one that includes my favourite British cyclist (photo credit to Mo Running Away From Things - click on the link to see other hilarious photos).

There was a huge reaction on Twitter and in the British papers, many attacking the interviewer for not knowing who Mo is.  I really think this was an overreaction.

I even saw some British saying if it had been American Galen Rupp, who finished second and trained with Mo, Brits would have known who Rupp was. Really? Would they know Kenenisa Bekele? He won the 5000m and 10000m in 2008 (and gold and silver in 2004). I had to look that up. Would they have known Rupp only because he raced and trained with a Brit (that's the reason I remember Rupp because I was already a Farah fan so I loved this story)?

I also don't agree that this is a typical American issue. Many blamed the Americans for not knowing non-American heroes. I think most countries are like that. We know and support our own. I don't think Brits, French, Spanish, Australian or Canadian fans would know the American Olympians (besides the dominating ones in major events).

The problem isn't that this presenter doesn't know who Mo is. I think this conversation happening at a party isn't a problem.  She doesn't work for a sports channel or even in the sports department I would guess.

I can only imagine how she felt when she found out she interviewed a double gold medallist. Taking a moment to check the internet could have prevented the embarrassment for her and her station but there's no need to attack the presenter.

On the bright side, a lot more people know who Mo Farah is today (and I was given an excuse to write a blog post about him).

Later edit:

I love what Mo had to say on Twitter:  Just wanna say to everyone being nasty to LaTonya Norton please stop!! She made a mistake like we all do!! She didn't mean anything by it!

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