Once his running and English were up to speed, one might have expected Bile to come down with a delayed case of culture shock. How, he is asked, did a Somali nomad deal with an America of shopping malls, sorority girls and cocaine? "There is no shock," says Bile firmly. "If you don't judge. You see differences, but you have to get along with people."
He is at once austere and sweet-tempered. "He took the good," says Cook, "and left the bad, and did it in such an unrebellious, uncrusading way that he just stayed Abdi.
"He speaks for the other guys on the team. He'll come in the office, peaceful and quiet, and telling me something. And I say. 'Yeah, I was hard on the guy. Yeah, I didn't think of how he'd be hurt. Yeah, I'll see what I can do.' He's a conscience in a lot of ways. Sometimes I hate to see him coming.
"I don't want to get all corny here." Cook goes on, "but I have a certain love for Abdi. I hesitate saying that because I have to, uh...."
"...Push your friends," says Bile, smiling.
"...But if he weren't likable, he wouldn't be what he is. It's all part of that inner strength that makes him so stable. Even his racing tactics flow from Abdi's calm."
In the classic Bile race he drops to last in the first 200, and from there surveys the elbowing, spiking pack. "He's not a power runner," says Cook. "He's an efficient runner. He gets to the last lap more easily than anyone."
The extent of Cook's advice to Bile in the Rome World Championships was "Don't let 'em surprise you."
"I was amazed that Steve Cram's coach almost went out to the starting line talking to him," says Bile. "It's all over by then."
In theory, a consistent training year should bring Bile within reach of Sebastian Coe's 800 world record of 1:41.73, Said Aouita's 1,500 mark of 3:29.46 and Cram's mile of 3:46.32. But records aren't Bile's focus this season. The Olympic 1,500 is. Or, to personalize it, Aouita is. The magnificent, maddening Moroccan is the last man he has to beat.