Double European champion Mo Farah of Britain will leave his long time coach Alan Storey to move to Portland and train with Alberto Salazar’s group, Sportinglife.com reported on Friday. Farah has been training with the Oregon Project for much of this winter in preparation for the indoor track season. For the full story, click here.
The move is a curious one on a number of fronts. For Farah, the change comes just 17 months before the Olympic Games in London in which he has been hyped as a top contender for a medal in track and field for the host nation. Plus he had an extremely successful 2010 season under his previous coach that included two European titles and breaking the national record over 5000 meters. It’s clear that Farah had a great experience working with Salazar this winter, but turning his back on what worked so well last year seems odd.
The decision to take on Farah from Salazar’s perspective is also an interesting one. Firstly, Farah is an Adidas-sponsored athlete in a training group located at Nike’s global headquarters. But even more importantly, he is a British runner joining the Oregon Project which was founded to bring American distance running, not any other country, back to the top of the world. Salazar isn’t being sincere about his objectives for the group by taking in the Brit. Even if having Farah benefits the training of Galen Rupp and other Salazar-trained runners, the extra time and money Salazar will be spending on a foreign athlete takes away from an American who could be utilizing the same resources.
Of course, the Oregon Project is Alberto’s group and he is free to do however he chooses. But if its goal is no longer only to advance American runners to the next level, it would be nice to know.