Lord Sebastian Coe

Lord Sebastian Coe

The former Olympic athlete and Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games says "Winning medals was confirmation for what I had got right in training."

Success is the journey


Lord Sebastian Coe KBE

29 September 1956

Chiswick, London

Middle distance track events

Sporting achievements:

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

Other achievements:

  • Became vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (2007).
  • Promoted to a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List for services to sport (2006).
  • Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (2005).
  • Headed the London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics (2005).
  • Made a life peer (2000).
  • Made OBE (1990).
  • Appointed MBE (1982).

Success for me was being a better athlete than I was a year earlier. I always took the view that if I kept mentally on top of what I needed to do to improve, then I put myself in a better position for winning medals. Winning medals was confirmation for what I had got right in training and I saw it that way.

Don't waste energy on negative thoughts

My routine was to sleep before an event. I took the view that if I wasn't thinking about the race, then I wasn't expending energy. If a race was at eight or nine o' clock at night, I'd be asleep by mid-afternoon right up until six o' clock. I'd get up, warm up and run. It wasn't a routine that was suggested to me, it was something that worked for me from a young age.

Enjoy it!

Motivation isn't something that you can shout into somebody by standing at the side of the track. It is internally driven. My motivation was simply that I really enjoyed what I did. I enjoyed racing, I enjoyed training and I enjoyed the environment that I was in. If I hadn't enjoyed it, I would have probably gone on to do something entirely different.

Concentrate on your goals

I had a great rival in one of the most talented athletes that I've ever raced against, Steve Ovett, but I didn't wake up in the morning thinking, "Steve's out there and I'm going to have to train that much harder today." I used to wake up thinking, "I want to win an Olympic title and I want to go on improving." Rivalry, winning and loosing is often something that is much more alive in the stands of the stadium than it actually is on the pitch. You just don't want to perform badly.

Get involved

I have always been a member of an athletics club, just like most budding athletes up and down the length and breadth of this country. For some young people this provides the only anchor points in their week. It's not just about the passion for sport, it's understanding the extraordinary power that sport has to bring communities together.

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