Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah detained on terrorist suspicion
By Jay Busbee | Fourth-Place Medal – 6 hours ago
Mo Farah. (Getty Images)
So how was your Christmas? Mo Farah celebrated his by getting taken for a possible terrorist.
The two-time gold medal winner for Great Britain at this past summer's games was traveling in Oregon and was questioned by U.S. Customs officials after they noticed his Somali ancestry.
"I couldn’t believe it," Farah said, according to the Sun. "Because of my Somali origin, I get detained every time I come through US Customs. This time I even got my medals out to show who I am, but they wouldn’t have it." (Tricksy terrorists, using gold medals! What will they think of next?)
Farah, 29, was born in Somalia but moved to Britain with his English-born father as a child. He won the 5000m and 10,000m races this summer in London. Last year, he moved to Oregon to train with the legendary Alberto Salazar at the headquarters of Nike.
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This isn't the first time he's had difficulties with immigration; a previous attempt to get a residency visa saw him detained on terrorist suspicion with the threat of being barred from entering the country for 90 days. Salazar used some contacts to sort that one out. This one apparently was sorted out after some questioning.
So all ended out well for Farah. This Christmas was the first he was able to spend with his family in four years because of his training regimen. And it's also the first he'll have with his twin daughters, born two weeks after the Olympics ended. He had his two medals engraved with their names, Aisha and Amani.
Look, a sports column is not the location for a discussion on airport security protocol, but it would seem that despite the we-check-everyone mandate that has grannies and infants swept with wands and patted down, there may be a wee bit of profiling going on here. Fortunately, you'd be hard pressed to find a more genial athlete in sports than Farah, so he'll move on from this just fine.
Good thing he didn't try to run. That would've been embarrassing for everyone involved.