A holder of four Olympic medals and eight outdoor and three indoor world records, he dominated middle distance running for much of the 1980s. His easy rhythmic running style made him one of the most popular athletes to watch.
In 2012, he matched his achievements on the track by first winning, then delivering the highly successful London Olympic and Paralympic Games, as Chairman of the Organising Committee. In 2013 he was presented with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition.
He began his running career at 12 when he joined Sheffield's Hallamshire Harriers in the North of England. In between his school studies, he went on to win county and English schools championships at 3,000 metres, 1,500 metres and in cross-country.
His annus mirabilis came in 1979 when, in the space of 41 days, he sensationally broke three world records – the 800 metres and the Mile records fell in Oslo and he then broke the 1,500 metres mark in Zurich, making him the first man in more than 50 years to achieve world records at both 800 and 1,500. The following July, Seb added the 1,000 metres record in Oslo to give him, for a brief period, four simultaneous world records.
His rivalry with his British compatriot Steve Ovett dominated middle-distance running during those years and at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the showdown between the two provided some of the most memorable moments of the entire Games. Although Seb was favourite to win the 800 metres, he had to settle for second place behind Ovett. But he then bounced back with style to take gold in the 1,500 metres, leaving Ovett trailing in third.
In 1981, he broke four further world records: the 800m in Florence, the 1,000m in Oslo and the Mile (twice) in Zurich and Brussels respectively. His 800m mark of 1:41:73 was arguably the greatest performance of his athletic career as the record stood for a remarkable 16 years.
In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Seb set an Olympic record in the 1,500 metres to win his second gold medal and he also won his second silver medal in the 800 metres.
After retiring from competition in September 1989, he pursued a political career, becoming Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne in 1992. In 1997, he was appointed Private Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, William Hague, a role which ended following Hague’s defeat in the 2001 British General Election. As Lord Coe, he is now a member of the British House of Lords.
In 2015 when Lamine Diack stood down as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Seb announced that he was standing and unveiled his manifesto ‘Growing Athletics in a New Age’. He beat fellow Laureus Academy Member Sergey Bubka in the election.
Seb’s passion for sport has resulted in him accepting many roles. In September 2006, he was appointed the first chairman of FIFA’s new ethics commission. As an alumni, he accepted the Chancellorship of Loughborough University. He is a member of the International Olympic Committee Tokyo 2020 Coordination Committee and a council member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.