NYT on Farah & Haile’s Ugly Public Feud

An ugly feud between Mo Farah, a Somalia-born British runner, and his former childhood hero, Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian runner who set 27 world records over his career, spilled into public this week. (Photo: Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie/Getty Images and Reuters)

The New York Times

Olympic Athletes’ Feud Goes Public, With Claims of Hotel Theft and Gym Attack

They’re track-and-field legends who have competed around the world, at events including the Olympics and the London Marathon. They have run in stadiums packed with thousands of screaming fans, racing for medals and the glory of being crowned No. 1.

But an ugly feud between Mo Farah, a Somalia-born British runner, and his former childhood hero, Haile Gebrselassie, an Ethiopian runner who set 27 world records over his career, spilled into public this week.

According to news reports and the athletes’ public statements, the dispute revolves around claims of a theft, unpaid bills and an unprovoked violent attack. It all comes as Mr. Farah, the most successful British track athlete in history, is preparing to run the London Marathon on Sunday.

The public became aware of the simmering dispute during the final moments of a news conference in London on Wednesday, where Mr. Farah lit the fuse. As the event was wrapping up, he used his final few minutes onstage to reveal that although his marathon training had gone according to plan, he had been the victim of theft in a hotel outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he had spent the past few months training…

Mr. Gebrselassie, 46, once regarded as the world’s greatest distance runner, responded on the same day with equally sharp comments in a news release, threatening Mr. Farah, a four-time Olympic champion who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017, with legal action.

“It’s with deep sorrow,” he wrote, that he had learned of the comments made by Mr. Farah against him and his property. He also unleashed a litany of his own complaints about Mr. Farah’s stay at his hotel, claiming that Mr. Farah had left without paying a $3,000 service bill, had been the subject of “multiple reports of disgraceful conduct” and had been reported to the police for an attack on a man and a woman in the hotel’s gym.

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