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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 00:05 GMT
Profile: Lord Coe
By Mark Orlovac

COE'S CAREER
Sebastian Coe sprints to 1500m Olympic gold in Los Angeles
1956: Born, 29 September
1979: Broke three world records in 41 days
1980: 1500m Olympic gold, 800m silver
1984: 1500m Olympic gold, 800m silver
1991: Awarded OBE
1992-1997: Tory MP for Falmouth and Camborne
1997: Private Secretary to Tory leader William Hague
May 2004: Appointed London's 2012 bid leader
December 2005: Awarded KBE
Lord Coe, who becomes a KBE in the New Year Honours List, won his greatest ever race by bringing the 2012 Olympics to London.

He may have won two Olympic golds and smashed 12 world records, but Coe's achievement in leading London to victory eclipsed them all.

"This is almost entirely on a different planet to winning the gold medals," Coe said.

His jubilation was understandable as it was his leadership which helped London claim sport's biggest prize.

The London bid was initially way off the pace and when the five candidate cities were shortlisted, London was rated third behind Madrid and favourites Paris.

But with the timing that he showed so often in an illustrious running career, Coe helped London produce the late charge which saw them pip their French rivals.

He joined London's team as one of three vice-chairmen two years ago but by May 2004 he was in charge - taking over from American businesswoman Barbara Cassani.

Seb has done a fantastic job and made every single effort to make sure we couldn't turn round and say we hadn't done this or that
Steve Cram
His CV was perfect for the job. Not only did he have the profile but his knowledge of sporting politics gave him massive influence with those who would decide London's fate.

Coe had been a member of various British sporting committees as well as winning a place on the ruling council of athletics' governing body, the IAAF.

And with quiet determination, Coe began to turn the fortunes of London's bid around.

"I felt our natural instinct was to make our strategy based around sport and getting more young people involved both domestically and internationally," he said.

"I decided this was what really spoke about us most loudly as a nation and it is far easier to follow a campaign that you believe in."

Seb Coe celebrates with England captain David Beckham
Coe got Britain's sporting stars to give their support to the bid
With a unity of purpose and an inspiring vision, London started to make inroads.

Emphasis was made on the legacy of the Games for London and Britain, as well as trying to address concerns over the capital's transport system.

The use of stars such as David Beckham, Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave gave the bid an air of authority that was hard to ignore.

With sporting figures, politicians and the public lending support, the IOC's evaluation commission gave a glowing report after their visit to London in February and the race was well and truly on.

Coe campaigned tirelessly and by the time the world's focus turned to Singapore for the crucial vote on Wednesday, the London bid had incredible momentum.

Britain's 400m hurdles gold medallist David Hemery, flanked by bronze medal winner John Sherwood at the 1968 Olympics
Image that launched a career: Sherwood (r) at the 1968 Olympics
But Coe saved his finest masterstroke for the closing moments when he delivered a very personal speech to IOC delegates during London's final presentation in Singapore.

"When I was 12 years old I was marched into a large school hall with my classmates and we watched grainy pictures from the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games," he told the delegates.

"Two athletes from our home town were competing. John Sherwood won a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles. His wife Sheila just narrowly missed gold in the long jump.

"By the time I was back in my classroom, I knew what I wanted to do - and what I wanted to be. Thirty-five years on, I stand before you with those memories still fresh. Still inspired by this great movement."

His speech, in the final moments of an incredibly close battle, turned the race in London's favour.

BBC Radio Five Live's athletics correspondent John Rawling said: "His final speech was fantastic. It was statesmanlike. It was just a stunning performance - he touched every bullet point of the London bid.

If we win I'll carry the flame home, if we lose I'll carry the can
Lord Coe

"And the way in which he went back and touched on his own career and told what it meant when he watched the Olympics in 1968 was brilliant."

Coe left such a mark on the London bid that IOC president Jacques Rogge paid tribute to him following the vote announcement.

"Most of the London winners have had a long journey in the Olympic movement," he said.

"I met Seb for the first time on the steps of the Olympic restaurant in Moscow in 1980 when he had won gold.

Lord Coe celebrates London's victory
Coe celebrates London's victory in Singapore

"Someone introduced us and we could not have believed at that time that we would be signing the host country contract now."

And his former middle-distance rival Steve Cram summed up what Coe has done for the Olympic bid.

"Seb has done a fantastic job and made every single effort to make sure we couldn't turn round and say we hadn't done this or that," said Cram.

"If there is one guy you want to be in there fighting for you, it's Seb."

Before the result was announced, Coe had said: "If we win I'll carry the flame home, if we lose I'll carry the can."

So many times in his athletics career he was on the shoulders of his rivals on the final bend before producing his trademark kick for home to claim victory.

And he did just that in Singapore to claim Olympic glory for Britain once again.




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