Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympian Greats: Sebastian Coe

Amanda Day's tribute to four-time medallist (and now Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games), Sebastian Coe.

Sebastian Coe wins Olympic gold in Moscow, 1980
My top Olympian is undoubtedly Sebastian Coe. A top athlete coached mainly by his father, Coe achieved four Olympic medals during his career, including two golds (1980 and 1984), both for the 1500m. At the same two Olympics, he also achieved silvers in the 800m. He then went on to set eight world outdoor records and three indoor world records.

But despite his greatness on the track, Coe is not merely an outstanding athlete. Some years after hanging up his spikes, he moved on to be a Member of Parliament for five years, became a life peer in 2000 and was knighted for his services to sport in 2006. In 2005, although he was no longer an active athlete, he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which is testimony to the respect accorded him by the British public.

Lord Coe's speech during the Opening Ceremony
of the London Olympics, 2012
It was in 2005 that Coe led, and won, the London 2012 bid to hold the Olympics, and he has subsequently been a key figure in organising the Games for next year. Despite no formal training or business background he has proved an excellent and inspiring leader under what must be intense pressure. On top of that, he has almost certainly achieved considerable financial remuneration for his sporting achievements! His Olympic qualities have been very much in evidence throughout his career and in his dedication to British sport, which is why Seb Coe is my ultimate Olympian.

This article was originally published in Portsmouth Point magazine's Olympics edition.

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