Back to Africa Check

No, photo from 2012 London Olympics – doesn’t show Kenyan runner Abel Mutai after getting help from Spain’s Ivan Fernandez

A photo posted on Facebook shows two men in running gear, embracing.

Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was only a few meters from the finish line, but got confused with the signs and stopped, thinking he had finished the race,” its long caption reads.

“A Spanish man, Ivan Fernandez, was right behind him and, realizing what was going on, started shouting to the Kenyan to keep running. Mutai did not know Spanish and did not understand. Realizing what was going on, Fernandez pushed Mutai to victory.”

According to a Spanish national newspaper El Pais, this incident did happen, at a race in the Navarre region of northern Spain on 2 December 2012. A video of the event was published on YouTube by Basque news outlet EITB.

But does the photo show Mutai and Fernandez? We checked.


Mo Farah and Galen Rupp 

A TinEye reverse image search of the photo reveals that it was taken during the 2012 London Olympics in the UK.

The photo was published on the Alamy stock photo site on 4 August 2012. Its caption reads: “Great Britain’s Mo Farah (right) celebrates winning with Silver Medalist USA’s Galen Rupp after the Men’s 10,000m final at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the eighth day of the London 2012 Olympics.”

It was taken by Martin Rickett.

A further search on Yandex led us to an article using a similar photo of Farah and Rupp celebrating their respective gold and silver medals for the 10,000-metre final at the London Olympics. 

The story in the Facebook post is true. But the photo doesn’t show Mutai and Fernandez.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.