Somalian-born two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mohamed “Mo” Farah was detained by U.S. Customs officials on suspicion of being a terrorist while traveling on Christmas day. The 500m and 10,000m races champion for Great Britain, was traveling in Oregon when he was questioned after U.S. Customs officials pulled up his Somali ancestry.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Farah said. “Because of my Somali origin, I get detained every time I come through US Customs. This time I even got my medals out to show who I am, but they wouldn’t have it.” Although 29-year-old Farah was born in Somalia, he was raised in Britain with his English-born father as a child.
Last year, Farah moved to Oregon to train with the legendary Alberto Salazar at the headquarters of Nike. Despite his notoriety in athleticism, he has had run-ins with the US Customs officials before. A previous attempt to acquire a residency visa got him detained on terrorist suspicion with the threat of being barred from entering the country for 90 days. Fortunately, Salazar contacted people within his network to clear up the discrepancy, and the issue was solved after some questioning.