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Sebastian Coe

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 1987

Lord Sebastian Coe (London, United Kingdom, 1956 -), considered the best middle-distance runner of the Eighties, between 1979 and 1982 he set nine open-air world records, one European record, also open-air, and three world and one European indoor records. His athletic career is among the most brilliant of all time.

A graduate in Economics and Political Science, he began competing in athletics at the age of 11, and at 17 won his first victory, in the National Athletics Championships at Bebington, England, over 3,000 metres. Four years later Coe won his first international title, winning the 800 metres event at the European Indoor Championships, held in San Sebastián in March 1977. Coe was not among the favourites, but was first across the line with a time only one tenth of a second outside the world record. he was then only twenty years old.

On the 5th July 1979 he set his first world record, over the same distance, in Oslo. Coe made a splendid time, breaking the record set by Alberto Juantorena, with 1:43:44, by more than a second. In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Coe faced his compatriot Steve Ovett, who had run important times in 1,500 metres and the mile. Ovett beat him on his own ground, the 800 metres, in the first confrontation. five days later, on the 31st July, Coe got his revenge and beat him in the 1,500 metres.

In 1981, this British athlete lowered his own record over 800 metres of 1:41:73, set the record for the mile on two occasions and set an excellent time in the 1,000 metres, which meant a new world title. The next two years were not good for him; doctors diagnosed a toxoplasmosis, a rare, little-known viral disease, but this did not stop him - although it almost did - from going to the Los Angeles Olympics, where he won a new gold medal in the 1,500 metres. Sebastian Coe is the only athlete of all time who has gained two Olympic victories in this event.

In 1985, Said Aouita beat him to the gold in the 1,500 metres. About this time, Cow began to think of reorienting his life towards a political career in the ranks of margaret Thatcher. In February 1990, at the age of 33, one of the greatest middle-distance record breakers in the history of athletics left the track for good. A viral infection led him to retire from competition after running the 800 metres in the Auckland Commonwealth games. He came sixth in this race. The 1,500 metres were still to be run, but the doctors advised against it. Sebastian Coe paid heed.

Having retired, he began his political career, becoming a Member of the British Parliament. Later, he headed the London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games and, after the success of the candidature, he was appointed chairman of the Organizing Committee of the London Olympics.

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