At the end of his final year as a track athlete, in which he took his tally of global crowns into double figures at the World Championships in London, Sir Mo Farah landed an award which he had previously predicted he would never win.
But, after 10 global golds over 5,000 and 10,000 metres in the space of seven incredible years, the 34-year-old,has been proved wrong.
Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Farah, a die-hard Arsenal fan, spent most of his early life in Djibouti and came to London when he was eight to join his father, speaking barely any English.
A good-time guy whose talent was in danger of going to waste until he knuckled down, he landed his first major outdoor gold medals by completing the long-distance double at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.
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His real breakthrough, though, came the following year when Farah relocated his family to Portland, Oregon, to train under Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project.
The impact was immediate.
He ran his personal bests over 10,000m and 5,000m – 26 minutes 46.57 seconds for the former, 12mins 53.11secs for the latter - in June and July respectively before taking 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver at the World Championships in Daegu.
Farah could not hide his disappointment at missing out in the 10,000m – to an athlete, Ethiopian Ibrahim Jeilan, he had never even heard of – but it was not to be an emotion he would grow used to.
London 2012 brought him double gold, the third of three British victories within an hour at the Olympic Stadium on ‘Super Saturday’.
Suddenly he was a household name, his ‘Mobot’ pose – arms above his head in an ‘M’ shape -ubiquitous.
The ‘double double’ at the Moscow World Championships the following year turned into the ‘triple-double’ in Beijing in 2015.
And the golds flowed again, dramatically, brilliantly, yet still almost inevitably, at the Rio Olympics and, at least initially, on home soil again this summer.
But, as 10,000m glory boosted hopes of a remarkable quintuple double, they were dashed by Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris over the shorter distance, Farah bowing out as a track athlete with silver.
Farah’s brilliance did not come without sacrifice.
He has spoken often of the pain at spending much of the year training at altitude away from his wife Tania and their four children – two of whom, Hussein and Rhianna, stole the show during his interview via video link for the BBC awards ceremony.
It is his young family who drive him on.
The criticism, too, cannot be ignored.
There are the allegations of doping against Salazar, under investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Farah’s refusal for so long to cut ties with his controversial coach left him open to suspicion too.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing, but this autumn Farah did leave Salazar as he returned with his family to Britain.
Farah’s track triumphs have already earned him a knighthood, but he still has unfinished business with the marathon.
He trailed home eighth at the 2014 London Marathon – his only race over the distance so far – but will now give it his full attention from next year.
Could a fifth Olympic title – this time in the marathon in Tokyo 2020 – be a possibility?
Given his incredible journey so far it should not be out of the question.