U.S. Customs officials detained two-time British Olympic gold medal track star Mo Farah for questioning on suspicion of being a terrorist.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Farah told The Sun. “Because of my Somali origin I get detained every time I come through U.S. Customs.”
U.S. Customs officials questioned Farah as he headed to Portland, Ore., to spend Christmas with his family. He moved there from Great Britain in 2011 to work with legendary trainer Alberto Salazar at Nike’s headquarters.
Farah, 29, is a celebrity in Britain. He won gold medals in the 10,000m and 5,000m races at the 2012 London Olympics last summer.
But apparently, U.S. Customs officials had no idea who he was.
“This time I even got my medals out to show who I am, but they wouldn’t have it,” Farah said.
Eventually, Farah was released after U.S. border officials figured out the mistake and he was able to continue his travels.
Farah ran into problems on another occasion when he tried to get a residency permit to live in Portland.
“We got a letter telling us we’re under investigation as a terrorist threat and we would have to stay away for 90 days,” Farah said.
Farah had to call Salazar to straighten things out.
“As luck would have it Alberto has a friend who works for the FBI,” Farah said. “This guy happens to be a massive running fan, knew exactly who I was and got it sorted then and there.”