The man with a PLAN - Olympics Q&A with Lord Seb Coe
PUBLISHED: 18:25 08 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:49 20 February 2013
Lord Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and patron of the Chelmsford-based Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, shares his thoughts on his plans to make London 2012 the best Olympics ever...
Lord Seb Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and patron of the Chelmsford-based Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, shares his thoughts on his plans to make London 2012 the best Olympics ever and what that means for Essex.
Q Do you have any regrets over the Olympic bid and its implementation?
A No regrets the point of a bid is to win, and we did! The team who put that together pulled off a great achievement that I believe will benefit London, the UK and the Olympic and Paralympic movements for generations.
Q What will be the key to making London 2012 one of the best Olympics ever?
A The first priority is to stage 26 Olympic and 20 Paralympic events that enable the best athletes in the world to deliver to their very best. More widely, with our vision to use the power of the games to inspire change in many different areas, we want to see legacies such as the transformation of East London, enabling sporting participation and changes in attitudes to disability, among many more.
QWhat was most special to you, winning an Olympic gold medal or winning the Olympics for London in 2012?
AThe day before our bid presentation to the IOC, I agreed with decathlete Daley Thompson and wheelchair athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson that given the choice we would trade our gold medals for the chance to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London next year. I have no reason to change my mind on that now.
QHow would you respond to people who feel that this is an Olympic games just for London?
AI am clear that the 2012 Games are for all of the United Kingdom. There are events being staged outside London in Essex, Dorset and Hertfordshire as well as five football cities in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands. Games business contracts and brilliant examples of sporting, school and cultural events inspired by London 2012 have been seen in towns and villages across the whole country. Another sign of this will be the Olympic Torch Relay which will be taking the magic of the Games on an 8,000-mile route around the UK within an hour of 95% of the population.
QWhich would you be most happy about for the London Olympics to run smoothly or for the Great Britain team to do well in the medal table?
ABy delivering a well-run Games we will be giving Team GB and Paralympics GB the very best chance to medal, so thats where the Organising Committees efforts will be focused. However, with established medal winners like Sir Chris Hoy and Ellie Simmonds being joined as championship favourites by athletes like Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley and Beth Tweddle and the support of a passionate British home crowd, Im looking forward to seeing the Union Jack raised regularly like everyone else.
QHow do you think the people of Essex will benefit most from the Olympic Games and its legacy?
AWith Mountain Biking at our impressive new facility at HadleighFarm, Essex is hosting its own Olympic event. The best athletes in the world will be in the county and it will be a great opportunity to showcase Essex. I look forward to this inspiring young people to take up biking as well as the other sports and to add to the many other sporting, educational, cultural and economic legacies that are touching local communities.
QHow did you become patron of the Helen Rollason CancerCharity?
AI first met Helen Rollason when she was a young sports reporter and beginning to make her way into the field. As both our careers progressed, our paths crossed on a national level. Helen was the first woman to anchorGrandstand a large part of everyones Saturday and Sunday sports viewing and we became good friends. Supporting the charity that bares her name is a continuation of that friendship.
QWhat about the Olympic Games are you most looking forward to?
AAs a former runner, you may be unsurprised to hear that track and field will always be the sport closest to my heart. I cant wait to see the middle distance events and to hear the crowd in the Olympic Stadium roaring on the athletes to the finishing line.
QWhat are your career plans after the 2012 Olympics?
ASince London won the bid in 2005, the key to our firm progress has been a lack of complacency and keeping our minds focused like a laser on the huge task of staging the 2012 Games. Thats what Ill be doing through Games-time and Ill worry about the future later. First thing Ill be planning is a holiday for a week, or maybe two.