Lord Coe’s Olympic Blog
LORD Sebastian Coe is one of life's winners, whether I'm thrashing Steve Ovett to take the 1500m gold in Moscow, single-handedly bringing the Olympics back to London, or becoming head boy by exposing my rivals as communist sympathisers.
Speaking of my old adversary, I saw Ovett – who I managed to see off in '84 as well, by the way – at the airport en route to Beijing. He was surrounded by a lot of wretched-looking people dressed in shorts and sombreros, all waving autograph books in his face. As a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, I have to act with some kind of dignity, so you won't find me signing vulgar autographs and posing for cheap pictures, thank you very much
Once I arrive in Bejiing, I can feel the excitement building inside of me – it'll be like this in four years time in London (thanks to someone not a mllion miles away). I was greeted by seven of China's A-List dignitaries at the airport, whereas Ovett had to make do with another screaming mob, waving their communist autograph books. It just goes to show, no matter where you go in the world, people tend to be very poor judges of character.
I was invited to a state dinner with China's President, Hu Jintao, where I was accorded all the respect usually given to a head of state – so stick that up your pipe 'Sir' Steve Redgrave. I even managed to have a personal conversation with the great man himself. He beckoned me over, put his thumbs up, and with a huge grin said in pidgin English, 'Steve Ovett – Number One!'. Communist bastard.
I was asked to make a morale-boosting visit to Team GB. I gathered everyone in the canteen and climbed on a table, armed with my quotes from Henry V, when I noticed we were pretty thin on the ground. I was then directed towards a large group of people wearing GB tracksuits, laughing and giggling in the corner. I peered over the throng to see Daley Thompson, no doubt reliving that oh-so hilarious moment when he whistled along to the national anthem, the communist bastard.
Daley Thopmpson – he's not even 'Sir' Daley Thompson and I'm in the fucking House of Lords!
As told to Matt Owen