Sebastian COE

Great Britain & N.I.

Sebastian Coe - Great Britain & N.I. - Major 800m. victory, at last

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 28 August 1986

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      Saturday, 29 September 1956
      London, England.
  • Great Britain & N.I.
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Sebastian COE - Great Britain & N.I. - Major 800m. victory, at last

Olympic Champion he may have been but Sebastian Coe failed to win a top class 1500m race during 1985, instead he had to watch three men break the magic 3min. 30sec. barrier for the first time ever, Steve Cram being the first (just). He did, however, run his third fastest ever 800m. (1min.43.07sec.) behind the Olympic Champion Cruz (1min. 42.54sec.) in Cologne in what was after all a non-championship year.

The Moroccan Said Aouita became World No. 1 at 1500m. and Steve Cram broke the world mile record. But the next year Seb was back on the top of the World 1500m. ranking list with his best ever time of 3min. 29.77sec.(not a world record) and finally won a major 800m. title - the European in Stuttgart in 1min. 44.50sec.(see photo above). It was his third attempt at the European and he had the added satisfaction of beating Tom McKean (2nd with 1min. 44.61sec.) and Steve Cram (3rd in1min. 44.88sec.) who, a month earlier, had come 1st and 2nd in the Commonwealth 800m. where Cram won.


Seb had been forced to scratch from the Edinburgh Championships with a viral illness. Three days after the European 800m. final Seb and Steve were again in battle this time for the 1500m. crown - the Olympic Champion (SC) v. the World Champion (SC). In a slow tactical race Cram won in 3min.41.09sec. to Coe's 3min. 41.67sec. to retain his title. It proved to be the last major medals either was to win with both men suffering from injuries at depressingly regular intervals thereafter.


Seb didn't compete in the 1987 World Champs or the 1988 Olympics. However, in 1989 he represented Great Britain at the World Cup in Barcelona finishing second in the 1500m. (3min. 35.79sec.) behind the World Champion Abdi Bile (Som) (3m.35.56sec.).


He retired after competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. (George Herringshaw)

Following his athletics career Coe took up politics and was elected as Member of Parliament for Falmouth and Camborne in 1992, for the Conservative Party but lost his seat in the 1997 general election. He returned to politics for a short time as Leader of the Opposition William Hague's chief of staff, having accepted the offer of a Life Peerage on 16 May 2000.


In 2007 Coe was appointed as vice chairman of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and was reappointed in 2011.


On 19 August 2015, in Beijing, he was elected president of IAAF against Sergey Bubka, by 115 votes to 92 votes.