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The triumphal track and field performances of British distance runner, Mo Farah, at the London 2012 Olympic Games were lauded both for their athletic endeavor and for their perceived validation of the rhetoric of ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion in which the Games were ensconced. By analyzing coverage of the athlete’s achievements in mainstream British newspapers, this article presents a more complicated and critical reading of the relationship between Britishness, multiculture, the politics of inclusion and the London Games. Employing a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, the article shows that Farah was constructed and represented by the media using narratives that are familiar, palatable and reassuring to the public; and that sustain hegemonic models of racialised nationhood and dominant ideologies around sport.
Burdsey is with the School of Sport and Service Management, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK.