Sir Mo Farah told the incredible story of his early childhood and true identity as a trafficked child in a BBC documentary on Wednesday that left viewers in tears.
The gold medal winning Olympian, who had previously claimed that he had travelled to the UK from Somalia as a child with his family, revealed his life-long secret that he had actually been trafficked into the UK to work as a child domestic servant and given a new name.
He told how he had escaped the family who were making him run their household and gone to live with a relative of theirs instead, pouring his efforts into running as he struggled to deal with the trauma of his father's death, worries about what had become of his family and the panic that he might one day be deported.
Sir Mo's emotional story included taking his young son Hussein, who has the Olympian's birth name, to Somalia to meet his mother and brothers and hear about their heartbreak when they realised he had been taken to the UK.
Viewers were gripped by the athlete's story, telling how they were left in tears by BBC One documentary The Real Mo Farah.
One person tweeted: "Tears streaming watching your story. Such a sad story and you’ve done a brave and brilliant job highlighting this issue. Also a reminder that teachers are often the first to spot these things and help."
Someone else added: "I couldn’t stop crying @Mo_Farah documentary, back in a time where there had been less awareness and less training to manage, the school were legendary, big up Mo for being strong and brave and raising awareness."
Another viewer commented: "Watched it with tears in my eyes and an aching heart. I hope you’ve now got some of the peace you and yours deserve, even though there are still a few loose ends."
Someone else tweeted: "I am in Awe of you, Sir. It took great guts to tell your story. Thank you. It was honest, it was beautiful, it was heartbreaking. I can't imagine how hard it must have been; separated from family, alone in a strange land. You are You. My Admiration of you has just grown."
Viewers were also moved by the story of Sir Mo's school PE teacher Alan Watkinson, the first person he confided in about his real identity and who helped him to escape the family who were using him as a servant.
Watkinson encouraged the athlete's talent for running and kept his secret for decades, even applying for British citizenship for the teenage Farah to enable him to represent his country in sports competitions.
One viewer tweeted: "What an incredible bloke Mo Farah’s PE teacher is. To take Mo Farah under his wing is one thing. To keep this secret to himself is another. Can’t help but think there are thousands out there who’d have cashed in."
Someone else agreed: "Alan Watkinson ….. take a bow. To look after Mo Farah like that and to keep such a huge secret to yourself is incredible. What you did was amazing. You deserve all the accolades coming your way tonight."
Another person wrote: "Mo Farah’s documentary was brilliant. PE teacher Alan Watkinson deserves a massive round of applause for his faith in Mo and more importantly his protection of him."
Watch: The Real Mo Farah trailer