Where did Mo learn to throw?


Double Olympic champ Mo Farah recently stunned many TV viewers by finishing second in the javelin competition on BBC’s Superstars. But how did the skinny endurance runner pull off his impressive 35m throw? We ask four-time former European javelin champion Steve Backley 

You don’t need to be a powerhouse

“You have to remember the javelin is a skill, it is not about brute force. The javelin is not heavy. It weighs 800g, the same as a bag of sugar, so it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be a great big powerhouse and quite often you do see skinny javelin throwers. If you are stacked with muscle and power, but it has not been honed specifically for the event, then it is really hard to co-ordinate.”

It’s all about Mo-mentum…

"Mo is very well co-ordinated and this could work to his advantage in the javelin. You may recall the way he danced around The Cube (he is the only person to defeat The Cube, a TV show in which contestants undergo a series of physical challenges inside a Perspex cube) to see he is really well co-ordinated and very agile.”

Hidden strength

"You also have to remember that Mo would have far greater strength levels than the average man, even though he is an endurance athlete. He would have above average upper body strength and could probably do 25 pulls-ups without blinking."

Mo and the javelin go way back…

"With these qualities and good athleticism Mo obviously applied this to his javelin. I think the main factor in his success, though, was he’d done the javelin before (Mo often used to select javelin as his field event when he competed at school, where all athletes had to pick one track and one field event). This may not sound like a big revelation but he went to a good school which gave him the opportunity and he obviously learned to throw the javelin. The big lesson here is to let kids have the opportunity to try different events."

You can watch Mo in action with the javelin (and in a kayak) on Superstars 2012 on BBC iPlayer

The Javelin result on the BBC TV Superstars

1 Anthony Joshua (Boxing) 36.55m

2 Mo Farah (Athletics) 35.55m

3 Peter Wilson (Shooting) 28.58m

4 Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon) 19.06m

5= Jonathan Brownlee (Triathlon) x

5= Robbie Grabarz (Athletics) x

5= Andy Triggs Hodge (Rowing) x