Among the many highlights of London’s glorious Olympic Games last year was Somali immigrant Mo Farah pulverizing the competition to win gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in front of an adoring home crowd in the Olympic Stadium. In the aftermath, Farah’s “Mobot” victory sign has been much copied, including by the likes of the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt.
But it seems as though the news of Farah’s achievements didn’t reach a television presenter in New Orleans.
WSDU newsreader Latonya Norton interviewed Farah after he won the city’s Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon on Sunday. And he heard Norton ask, “Now haven’t you run before?” with her immediately adding insult to injury by repeating the question. “Haven’t you run before? This isn’t your first time?”
The diplomatic Farah managed to smile and explain that he’d run a half-marathon before, but that this was his first time running in New Orleans. By now, Norton was on a roll: she congratulated Farah for his victory and for getting “off to a great start” in his efforts to compete at longer distances. “Do you have any other races coming up?” she asked, though neglected to drop in the fact that she was talking to a Olympic gold medallist.
According to the Guardian, a producer at WSDU said that the recording had been taken out of context, and that Norton “knew he [Farah] was an Olympian.” Her line of questioning, apparently, wasn’t so much about if Farah had run before, but whether it was his first time competing in New Orleans.
But an official statement from WSDU management went further by apologizing.
We regret our unfortunate phrasing of questions posed to Mr Mo Farah following his impressive victory in this past weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon in New Orleans and for not acknowledging his status as an Olympic champion.
We express our sincere apology to Mr Farah and his many fans who may have been offended by our error. We hope that Mr Farah will have occasion to visit New Orleans again and that we may have the opportunity to apologise in person.
It’s surely for the best that WSDU issued the statement because otherwise, much like Farah himself, the fallout from the gaffe might have run and run.