The Sunday Telegraph – Farah has been fighting a lone PR battle
Smiling broadly as he plays with his daughters in the park, Mo Farah is the typical proud father. The scene, shown in a photograph uploaded by Farah to his social networks last week, offers a glimpse of his life behind the iron curtain put up by media officers and communications specialists so ubiquitous in the world of sport.
This is Farah the family man; the happy-go-lucky guy who enjoys the quiet life even while a whirlwind rages around him. Normal. Just like you, just like me.
We all know, however, that he is far from normal. Normal does not batter his rivals into submission to win Olympic 10,000 metres gold and return seven days later to replicate the feat over half the distance. Normal does not then complete the same double one year later to claim two world titles.
Farah is a brilliant freak. And, despite his oft written about Somali heritage, he is Britain’s freak and the public love him.
Or they loved him. Events of the past 2½ weeks – or more precisely revelations of the past 2½ weeks that relate to historic events – have potentially changed that.
Whether rightly or wrongly, for the rest of his career Farah will have to live with the words “doubt” and “suspicion” associated with everything he does. By choosing to remain with his coach Alberto Salazar, a man accused of numerous doping violations, Farah has opened himself up to serious, and legitimate, questioning.
For David Alexander, managing director of Calacus PR, Farah is in a no-win situation. “To a certain extent he is caught between a rock and a hard place,” he says. “If he ditches his coach and it turns out that the accusations are unwarranted then he’s acted in haste and condemned someone who’s innocent. But on the other hand the amount of negative attention on Salazar that has filtered over towards Mo has created its own challenges.
“In Birmingham he may well have felt he wouldn’t have done himself any justice. Sometimes you’ve got to say ‘just push through it’, but no PR adviser would tell him to compete come what may because there could have been a scenario where he was so all over the place that he finished last and he would be remembered for that.”
Freud’s had a strategy: get Farah to speak. And so on Friday he finally released a statement confirming that he had “never taken performance-enhancing drugs” and he had been sufficiently “reassured” by Salazar that the doping allegations concerning the coach were false.
Alexander adds: “What he should have done is made the statement earlier. The way that he has avoided things until this point has created what might be perceived as a witch-hunt because he hasn’t fronted up earlier. There is a wisdom in hiring communications experts earlier and why that didn’t happen only he knows.”
Click HERE to read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph.