King of the track Sir Mo Farah has received his knighthood from the Queen, describing the moment as “incredible” and something he never imagined would happen.
The four-time Olympic champion was honoured at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for his services to athletics, and swapped his running kit for a top hat and a full morning suit.
Sir Mo, who called time on his track career at the end of the summer, will be moving back to London from the United States to concentrate on running road marathons.
“Over the years you dream of becoming something or doing something in your career, to take it to the highest level and become an Olympic champion – that was always the dream,” Sir Mo said.
“As an eight-year-old coming from Somalia and not speaking a word of English, to be recognised by your country, it is incredible.”
On being handed the honour by the Queen, Sir Mo said she told him he has been “going too long” and asked him if he has retired.
“I said ‘no, I am going to run the London Marathon – I want to go into roads’. She said that’s marvellous,” Sir Mo said.
Quizzed on whether he had taught the monarch to do the Mobot, letting out a loud chuckle, he said no as it is “far too rude – not in Buckingham Palace”.
Attending the investiture ceremony with his wife Tania, Sir Mo said: “It is a special occasion for my wife too, she is that person who always supports me and put up with me for so many years.”
Sir Mo revealed he is now back in London for the moment, with plans to move permanently next year – something he said he is looking forward to.
“I’ve got myself a season ticket for Arsenal. So when I come back I am going to enjoy it – back fully into London life,” he said.
Asked if he is aiming for the next Olympics in Tokyo, Sir Mo said “we will see” and that it depends on how the London Marathon goes.
“If I’m capable of getting a medal or close to a medal, you will see me,” the father-of-four added.
Pressed on what a win in London would mean, he said: “For me it is the biggest marathon in the world, and it is going to be tough. Mo Farah ain’t going to turn up and win… it’s going to be hard to run.”
With a personal best just at over two hours he said there are others who complete the marathon in similar times, adding he “has a long way to improve”.
He said training is “going OK” and that he is enjoying it with his new coach Gary Lough, who is the husband of Paula Radcliffe.