Lord Sebastian Coe

Lord Sebastian Coe

The Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games shares his hopes for the future of British sport.

It's all about attitude

We want to change attitudes in all sorts of ways. We want to change attitudes to sports, sports participation and we want to get more young people involved in sport. If you get more young people involved in sport you stand a good chance that a few of them will come through like Lynn Davies, Colin Jackson and some of the great young talent that I've seen in Wales.


Lord Sebastian Coe

29 September 1956

Chiswick, London

Middle distance track events

Sporting achievements:

  • Gold medal 1,500m - Moscow Olympics (1980)
  • Silver medal 800m - Moscow Olympics (1980)
  • Gold medal 1,500m - Los Angeles Olympics (1984)
  • Silver medal 800m - Los Angeles Olympics (1984)

Other achievements:

  • Made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (1982)
  • Made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (1990)
  • Made a life peer (2000)
  • Promoted to be a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List for services to sport(2006)

We want to change attitudes towards the Paralympic games, disability, the environment and we want to change attitudes to what sustainable communities using sport can do. It's right across the board and that is the beauty of the games because there are so many different types of legacy.

2012 - The future's bright

We went to Singapore to discuss using the games as a way of engaging young communities, in particular young communities that are challenged. I recently visited a school where they were celebrating the power of the games to change attitudes to things like school attendance. They have a club there called the '100% club' to encourage young people who weren't coming to school regularly to attend school on a regular basis.

I know it's ambitious, but at the end of four years we want everyone, or as many people as possible, the length and breadth of the country, whether they're in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or England, to feel that the games touch them and that it inspires them to do something different, or something that they haven't done before. That is the power of the games.

Our time to shine

I want British sport to recognise that over the next four years this is our moment. When we came back with the right to stage the games for the first time in 64 years there were four countries that were very disappointed that they didn't win the right to stage the games and we must not squander that opportunity. It's all about making these games as relevant to young people in Cardiff as the games will be relevant to young people living in East London.

Inspiring change

I have no doubt at all that in and around the Olympic games we can see similarities to the way everybody picks up a racquet around the Wimbledon tennis competition. What I don't want to happen after 2012 is that those tennis racquets, or the equivalent of those tennis racquets, all go back in a cupboard and people forget the impact that it has had.

Our challenge is to put things in place that will go on inspiring young people and making sure that governing bodies, governments, local authorities and the commercial sector really recognise that it doesn't stop at the closing ceremony in 2012. In reality it only really starts then and that legacy isn't going to happen simply because we sit here saying we've got the games.

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