Sebastian Newbold Coe, Baron Coe, famously referred to as Seb Coe or Lord Coe, was named Chancellor at Loughborough University in March 2017. Here are some very interesting facts about the British politician and former track and field athlete:
He was born Sebastian Newbold Coe, on September 29, 1956, at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith, London, to Tina Angela Lal and Peter Coe. He was one of the four children to them.
His maternal grandfather is of Indian origin and it was traced in the BBC TV series ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ that he is the descendent from Jamaican sugar farmers and slave owners.
He attended Bridgetown Primary School and Hugh Clopton Secondary School in Stratford-upon-Avon. He later switched over to Comprehensive School, the Tapton Secondary Modern School, Crosspool, when his family moved to Sheffield.
When his father saw the potential in Coe, he started coaching him without any formal coach experience. He consulted books and experts and devised his own methods. Coe’s mileage was kept low, concentrating on his speed and hill training.
Coe was inspired by David Tomlinson, his geography teacher at Tapton School and Olympian David Hemery and John Sherwood. He joined local running club ‘Hallamshire Harriers’ and won Yorkshire cross country championship at 14. He also won English school 3000m aged 16.
He became more focused on his running career when met Coach George Gandy at ‘Loughborough University’ where he studied economics and social history. He was put under more core strength and intense interval training session.
Coe’s physical attributes helped him in his success as a middle distance runner. He weighed very light 54 kg for his 5ft 9in frame and with a rare combination of a fast finish of 400m and also the endurance from running many 5km distances in training.
He burst in to international scene when he won the 800 meters at European Indoor Championship at San Sebastian on March 14, 1977. He won with the time of 1:46:54, just missing the world indoor record.
On August 29, 1977, he out sprinted Filbert Bayi of Tanzania, in winning the ‘Emsley Carr Mile’ in a time of 3:57:67.
Coe won his first UK National outdoor record on September 09, 1977 with a time of 1:44:95, in 800 m race at Coca-Cola Games at Chrystal Palace. A year later on August 18, 1978 he bettered his own record time, at Ivo Van Damme Memorial meet in Brussels, with a time of 1:44:26.
On September 15, 1978, he won at London Crystal Palace in the IAC Coca-Cola Meet with the time of 1:43:97 to reclaim his UK record and was ranked second in the world.
In 1979, he became the second person to hold three world records in 800m, the mile and 1,500m, simultaneously. On July 05, 1979, he won the 800m at ‘Bislett Games, Oslo’ with the record time of 1:42:33.
On July 17, 1979, in the same meet at Bislett, Oslo, he competed against world record holder, John Walker and Eamonn Coghlan, in the 1 mile race. He not only won, but beat the filed comprehensively with a time of 3:48:95, for a new world record.
On August 15, 1979, having set two world record and going for the third, he participated in the 1,500m at ‘Weltklasee race,’ Zurich. The record was for taking and he won with the time of 3:32:03, defeating C. Masback of USA and S.Foley of Australia.
In 1979, he was ranked world number one in 800m and 1,500m, as the one and only athlete to be ranked number one in the same year. He was voted ‘athlete of the Year’ by ‘Athletics Weekly’ and ‘Track and Field News.’
On July 01, 1980, by winning the 1000m race at Bislett Games, Oslo, he set his fourth world record with a time of 2:13:40. He held the unique record of four world titles in 800m, 1000m, 1,500m and the mile, for one hour before Steve Ovett broke his mile record.
Coe was ranked world number one in 800m and 1,500m, going into 1980 Summer Olympics at Moscow. Although Coe’s pet event was 800m, he was ran a bad tactical race to lose but made it up with gold medal in the 1,500m race. He ran the last 100m in 12.1 seconds for one of the fastest finish.
His record time of 1:43:73, in 800m set at CdF meet, Florence, Italy, on June 10, 1981, remained a world record until it was broken by Wilson Kipketer of Denmark on August 13, 1997. The timing is UK’s best till date.
In the latter half of 1983, he was battling with health problems including a prolonged bout of Toxoplasmosis, which forced him to miss the inaugural IAAF World Championships in Athletics. He spent several months in and out of hospital and returned to completion in Thames Valley Road Relays on March 31, 1984.
The history repeated itself when he again came second in the 800m but won the 1500m at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. His time of 3:32:53, for the 1500m gold was a new Olympics record. He was the first athlete to defend the 1500m gold at Olympics.
After the Olympics he had planned to move up the distance to 5000m, but for the recurring back problem which caused him to miss several weeks of training. Despite this he won the gold at 800m at 1986 European Championship in Stuttgart.
In 1987, he was injured and missed the entire season and also missed the selection for the 1988 Seoul Olympics after he failed to qualify from the heats. It was reported the IOC president and the Indian team were keen on his participation, which didn’t materialize.
At the end of his career, he won the gold medal at AAA Championship in 1,500m and a silver medal at World Cup.
Coe announced his retirement from competitive athletics in 1990 aged 34 years. His last competitive meet was the 800m at Commonwealth Games in Auckland on February 02, 1990, where he finished sixth.
He married Nicky McIrvine, a former badminton champion in 1990 and they have two sons and two daughters. The couple divorced in 2002 and he remarried Carole Annett in 2011.
Coe took the leadership in London’s bid to host the 2012 London Olympics. As a well-known personality in Olympic sports and with his speech at the critical IOC meeting in July 2005, he clinched it for London. He was appointed Chairman of the British Olympic Association after successful staging of Olympics Games.
Coe was instrumental in Queen Elizabeth II to star in ‘Happy and Glorious’ a short film featuring James Bond, as part of 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
He was appointed as the first Chairman of FIFA’s independent watchdog, the FIFA Ethics Committee. He stepped down from his post after English committee failed to bring the 2018 World Cup to England.
Coe was appointed as the Vice-President of the International Association of Athletics Federation, for two terms in 2007 and 2011. He was later elected as its president on August 19, 2015.
Coe was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1982 and promoted to Officer of the same Order (OBE) in 1990. On May 16, 2000, he was created a Life Peer as Baron Coe, of Ranmore in the county of Surrey.