Mo Farah feared his hopes of defending the Olympic 10,000 metre title had vanished when he suffered a fall en route to a superb victory at Rio 2016.
Farah outstripped Kenya's Paul Tanui on the home straight to claim his third Olympic title and remain on course to repeat the double success he achieved on home soil in London four years ago.
Yet the Briton had to recover from a mid-race tumble, which he believed would be costly.
"When I went down, I thought, 'Oh my God, that is it'," said Farah.
"I just got up and wanted to stick with the guys and stay strong. It's never easy but everyone knows what I can do.
"I thought about all my hard work and that it could all be gone in a minute. I wasn't going to let it go.
"I got up quickly. I thought about my family. It made me emotional."
Farah, unbeaten in major races since the 2011 World Championships, is the first British track athlete to claim three Olympic gold medals and will seek a fourth in next week's 5000m.