London 2012 chief Lord Coe has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Sports Personality show.
He led the successful bid to host the Olympics and oversaw a memorable Games as chairman of organisers Locog.
"I am so flattered and honoured to be the recipient of this trophy," he said.
"You only have to tip-toe through the names of previous winners to know just how flattered I am. For the larger part of my life I woke up knowing that sport was going to shape that day."
He added: "I am somebody who has competed, trained, supported and, in the last few years, delivered."
Coe, a 1500m Olympic gold medallist in 1980 and 1984, was the event's "head and heart",
according to UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
The 56-year-old joins previous Lifetime award recipients such as Pele, Bjorn Borg and
Sir Steve Redgrave.
Lord Cole factfile
- Olympic gold medals 1500m - Moscow (1980) Los Angeles (1984)
- Silver medals 800m - Moscow Los Angeles Olympics (1984)
- MBE (1982) OBE (1990)
- Life peer (2000) KBE (2006)
Coe is the first winner of the prize from an athletics background since the award became a regular honour in 2001.
In November, he was elected unopposed as
new chairman of the British Olympic Association.
Coe added: "There are a few thanks due tonight - the thanks to the extraordinary athletes we have celebrated this evening who made this year what it has been.
"Thanks to the public and the many volunteers and Games Makers. I am indebted to teachers at every level who have worked with me throughout my career. I am also indebted to the people I have worked alongside on this incredible journey. Nobody could have done this alone.
"It is with all of you this evening I share this trophy. It has been an extraordinary night for me. Thank you so much, I will never forget it."
When known simply as Sebastian Coe, he won the main Sports Personality award in 1979 after setting three world records in the space of 41 days.
Coe was born in London but spent his teenage years in Sheffield, where his father Peter was his running coach.
His athletics career, which also yielded two 800m Olympic silver medals, was part of a golden era for British middle-distance running as he shared engaging battles with rivals Steve Ovett and Steve Cram.
Following retirement from the track, Coe was a Conservative MP from 1992 to 1997.
Recent Lifetime Achievement Award winners
Sir Steve Redgrave - Rowing
David Beckham - Football
Seve Ballesteros - Golf
Sir Bobby Charlton - Football
Sir Bobby Robson - Football
Bjorn Borg - Tennis
Pele - Football
He then led London's bid for the Olympics and Paralympics, helping the outsiders to
win the race in 2005 ahead of favourites Paris.
Coe spoke of legacy and wanted to deliver an event which would help transform east London, leaving a sporting imprint for Britain to build on.
While there were complaints over ticketing and empty seats at some venues, the promises were largely delivered.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge declared himself "relieved and happy", and praised his hosts after the Games.
"These were athletes' Games, the village was fantastic, the venues were state-of-the-art and well run, you had a fantastic public, and the volunteers are marvellous," he said.
Coe took great pride in the way Britain embraced the Games, as evidenced by
his Paralympics closing speech.
"There are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity," he said.
"We have stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.
"London 2012. Made in Britain."