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Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 08:58 GMT
Christie fury at Coe's 'racial' jibe
Linford Christie
Christie says Coe's comments were 'out of order'
Linford Christie says the fierce criticism of him by fellow former Olympic champion Sebastian Coe had "a racial connotation."

The 1992 Olympic 100m gold medallist sprinter says he was shocked by Lord Coe's attack.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Coe rounded on the former British team captain following a recent interview in the BBC's Eve magazine.

In the magazine article, Christie hit out at athletics chiefs labelling them so "corrupt" that he did not want his children to follow in his footsteps.

Coe said of Christie: "I sat in one team meeting when he made himself deliberately unintelligible to all but those who had a passing knowledge of jive.

I was totally shocked by it and he was totally out of order
Christie on Coe's attack

"If officialdom was to blame for anything, it was to turn a blind eye to his boorish behaviour and then making him team captain to buy some peace."

In an interview with BBC Radio Four where he was asked about the 'jive' comment, Christie said: "I took that as a racial connotation, to be honest with you.

"Maybe Seb feels he's more upper class than I am. Is 'jiving' a racial slur?"

Former middle-distance runner Coe advised Christie to do some "soul-searching" as he returns from a two-year suspension after testing positive for nandrolone.

Lord Coe
Lord Coe has sparked a war of words

The double Olympic gold medallist Coe, a British team-mate of Christie's for six years, questioned his credentials as a role model for young athletes.

"Christie's place as our greatest sprinter is unquestioned," he said. "But there has been controversy on the way."

In 1988, Christie avoided suspension for failing a drug test at the Seoul Olympics after attributing the test result to ginseng.

"Some thought him lucky. Me included, " said Coe.

But Christie countered: "Do I feel lucky? I will take a lie detector test with anybody in our sport."


Coe criticised Christie's captaincy of the British team, claiming it was marked by continual conflict with coaches and, most notably, arguments about baton changes in the sprint relay.

He claimed that Christie now sneers at the anonymous "amateur" helpers who supported him and shared in his glory.

He also attacked Christie's behaviour at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta when the reigning champion was disqualified for two false starts.

But Christie said of Coe's article: "I was totally shocked by it, and he was totally out of order."

And he said he believed the pair's friendship had been ruined.

"I thought Seb and I were friends. I have nothing to say to Seb anymore," said Christie.

Olympic gold medallist Linford Christie
"It's absolutely ridiculous what Seb is saying, I love my sport"
Linford Christie and Seb Coe
Go head-to-head on BBC Five Live

Is Linford Christie a good role model for children? Role model
Should we look up to Linford?

Different tracks

Paul Dickinson gives his thoughts on the Christie and Coe feud
Coe & Christie saga

See also:

15 Feb 01 |  Athletics
Time for athletics peace
15 Feb 01 |  Athletics
Different sides of the track
14 Feb 01 |  Athletics
Christie hits back at Coe
14 Feb 01 |  Athletics
Baulch battles to make defence
12 Feb 01 |  Athletics
Sprinters quit Christie camp
30 Jan 01 |  Drugs in Sport
Supplements 'may cause drug failures'
14 Feb 01 |  Sports Talk
Is Christie an ideal role model?
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