The most successful male track distance runner of all time, Mo Farah, turns 40 today.
Farah is remembered for his whopping ten global championship golds between 2011 and 2017—where he was nearly unbeatable over the 5,000 and 10,000m, with his signature Mobot celebration, which inspired a trend after his 2012 Olympic double-gold performance on home soil.
Farah was born on March 23, 1983, in Somalia, where he grew up on a rural farm until he was allegedly taken and human trafficked at eight. He was then flown to the UK by a woman he had never met and wasn’t related to. The woman told him his new name was Mohamed Farah, ripping up his documents containing his birthname Hussein Abdi Kahin.
The four-time Olympic champion is said to have gotten into running as a lifeline and an escape from child labor. He began his professional career in 2005 and never looked back, winning 13 major championship medals and breaking 12 national records from the 1,500m to the marathon.
One of his most iconic moments comes from the 2012 London Olympics, where his gold in the 10,000m capped off a night of three gold medals for the host country, Great Britain. Farah celebrated by doing his signature Mobot, inspired by the “M” dance in the hit-song YMCA by the Village People.
Since 2017, Farah has retired from the track and shifted his focus to the road, where he won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a British record of 2:05:11 and finished third at the London Marathon the same year.
Farah recently told The Guardian that this 2023 season is likely to be his last. The 40-year-old is on the elite list for next month’s London Marathon on April 23, 2023.