Somali-born Olympic gold medalist detained by airport security on terror suspicion

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Mo Farah

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Gold medalist Mohamed Farah of Great Britain poses with his medals for the Men's 10,000m and 5000m as he attends a TEAM GB Press Conference during Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Team GB house on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Maybe he should have showed them his medals … Olympic Gold Medalist Mohammed Farah, who took home two track and field medals for Great Britain in this summer’s Games, says he was dismayed at his treatment by U.S. airport security as he traveled to Oregon to visit his family for Christmas.

And the champion runner says it wasn’t the first time he was detained because he is Somali.

From Yahoo! Sports:

“I couldn’t believe it,” Farah said, according to the Sun. “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.” (Tricksy terrorists, using gold medals! What will they think of next?)

Farah, 29, was born in Somalia but moved to Britain with his English-born father as a child. He won the 5000m and 10,000m races this summer in London. Last year, he moved to Oregon to train with the legendary Alberto Salazar at the headquarters of Nike.

Apparently, this isn’t Farah’s first run-in with U.S. authorities. He was detained previously by immigration officials and threatened with a 90-day ban from the country when he previously tried to obtain a residency visa.

In the end, Farah was able to get home to see his twin daughters, who were born just after the Olympic Games, and whose names he had engraved on his medals, along with his wife and older daughter. It was his first Christmas with his family in four years, because of his training schedule.