Sir Mohamed “Mo” Farah had one of those stories that they make movies about. An immigrant from Somalia to the UK, Farah became Britain’s most decorated Olympic runner and one of the best track athletes in the world in recent years. His athletic prowess coupled with the goodwill he received from the British people led to his receiving both the coveted Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honor and knighthood from Queen Elizabeth before he reached his mid-thirties.

Farah has recounted his life story many times over the years, giving the account that he, his mother, and his brothers emigrated to the UK when he was a young boy, joining his father who had already moved to Great Britain. There was a big problem with Farah’s bio as he presented it: it wasn’t true.

Interestingly enough, Farah’s story is fascinating and inspiring in its own way.

“The truth, according to the Olympic champion, is that he was born in Somaliland and trafficked to this country as a nine-year-old by a stranger who, he claims, forced him into domestic servitude,” reports the Telegraph. “His real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin – the name Mohamed Farah was stolen from another child and used to create a fake passport.”

Farah is telling the truth in a BBC documentary that will air on Wednesday, and he’s aware of the risks of telling the secret that he and a few others have kept for decades.

“Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK,” he explained. “When I was four, my dad was killed in the civil war. I was separated from my mother and I was brought into the UK illegally under the name of another child called Mo Farah.”

When he arrived in London, his handlers took the paper with Farah’s relatives’ contact information and ripped it up. He was a slave, and his early experiences in London sound like something out of Cinderella.

Recalling his time in the house, Sir Mo said: “When the man was around, I was treated very differently, but often we wouldn’t see him for weeks. From day one, what the lady did wasn’t right. I wasn’t treated as part of the family.

“If I wanted food in my mouth, my job was to look after those kids, shower them, cook for them, clean for them, and she said, ‘If you ever want to see your family again, don’t say anything or they will take you away.’

“Often I would just lock myself in the bathroom and cry.”

As a teen, he confided in his PE teacher, Alan Watkinson, who reached out to social services and helped Farah attain placement in a foster family. Watkinson also noticed Farah’s athletic talent, and when Farah had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe for track events, the coach helped him attain British citizenship under the name Mohamed Farah. Watkinson would go on to stand alongside his pupil as best man in Farah’s wedding.

“It’s only recently that I’ve thought about it and questioned whether actually I did anything wrong in this scenario,” Watkinson says in the documentary. “But I don’t think either I or the school did anything wrong.”

Farah’s growing fame in the UK led to a reunion with his real family. In 2000, a member of the UK’s Somali community recognized the athlete on television and reached out to his mother Aisha. The two reunited shortly afterward.

Coming clean was a big risk for Farah. In one scene in the documentary, he and his wife speak to an attorney who tells him that he risks losing his citizenship because he attained it fraudulently. However, the fact that he arrived in the country via trafficking and his popularity in the country make the UK stripping him of his citizenship unlikely.

“No action whatsoever will be taken against Sir Mo,” a UK Home Office spokesperson told the Telegraph.

Hopefully, we’ll have an opportunity to see The Real Mo Farah here in the States soon because the account of a man who survived human trafficking to become a beloved national hero is a story that people all over the world need to see.

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