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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Monday, 26 December 2011
Guest editor: Lord Coe

Lord Coe

Every year the Today programme hands over the editorship to leading public figures in the week between Christmas and New Year. On the 26 December Olympian and Olympic chief executive Lord Coe edited the programme.

His programme investigated sporting rivalry, the Olympic legacy and sport's relationship with science and literature.


As a former Olympic champion, Lord Coe knows from experience that 1 January 2012, the start of the Olympic year, will be a significant psychological moment for athletes around the world.

His own sporting career coincided with that of his sometime nemesis Steve Ovett. The rivalry between the two captured the nation's imagination, but what role did it play in their successes? Lord Coe and the veteran sports journalist, Colin Hart discuss the great sporting rivalries.

And Lord Coe asked us to bring together Lord Donoghue, who headed Harold Wilson's policy unit and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary and biographer of the former prime minister William Pitt the Younger, to discuss rivalry in politics.

The 1980 Moscow Olympics were where Lord Coe cemented his place as one of Britain's greatest middle distance runners and won his first Olympic gold.

But the nation wasn't united in support of Britain's participation: that year's event also marked the largest ever boycott of the games, led by the United States, in protest over the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. Lord Coe returns to the Moscow Stadium to remember the historic events of that tumultuous year.

Lord Coe believes that the biggest challenge of securing the London Olympics legacy will be growing the sports men and women and potential Olympic athletes of the future.

Faced with the seemingly effortless fame of reality television, he believes it is harder than ever to convince young people that competitive sport is a worthwhile endeavour. He asked reporter Tom Bateman to investigate how young sportsmen and women deal with the pressure of far-from-instant fame.

What connects the world of sport and the world of literature? A keen reader, Lord Coe asked BBC sport correspondent Tim Franks to reflect on how literature has risen to the challenge of portraying the drama of sporting endeavour.

Lord Coe's father Peter, who was pivotal in his training regime as a young sportsman, was a pioneer of a more scientific approach to coaching.

But is a scientific coaching style vastly superior to a more intuitive approach? Rob Bonnet investigated why horse trainers continue to shun science and trust their instinct. He also asked Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho to explain how he felt about the importance of science in football.

And Lord Coe reflects on his experience as a Today programme guest editor.


One of the finest middle distance runners of all time, Sebastian Coe won Olympic gold medals for the 1500m in both 1980 and 1984 as well as holding numerous world records.

From 1992 to 1997 he served as Conservative MP for Falmouth, eventually becoming a government whip. He was chief of staff when his friend, William Hague was Tory leader and was made a peer in 2000.

Lord Coe also and led London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics.

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