Jim Spivey on Seb Coe's Election as IAAF President
Seb Coe, Jim Spivey, Steve Ovett: 3 great milers. (c) 2015 J. Spivey
It is a great day for Track & Field and Cross-country/road racing throughout the world! I was eating breakfast and read the news that Sebastian Coe was elected as IAAF President, and do not believe that there is a better individual whose entire life, has been educated and developed for this role. One must quote Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England during the Second World War, and wonder if Mr. Coe feels the same:
"I cannot conceal from the reader... that as I went to bed at about 3 A.M., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial... I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. There, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams*."
You may criticize or disagree with his future actions, his mistakes, choice of words, and decisions. But one must remember this: He is a winner. He does not like to lose. If he fails with a decision, and all around him are howling, he will overcome. One only has to look at the 1984 Olympics 1500 meter final in Los Angeles, 10 seconds past the finish line, and see the fire in his eyes aimed towards the British and any other media, and know that this is an individual who has learned how to overcome challenges. I was in the race that day to compete, and see where I finished: Seb Coe was in the race to win. Do you doubt that he will elevate the sport? Do you question his ability to lead? Be prepared, to look him in the eye in the future, and have respect and appreciation.
I was able to race against and with Seb a few times during my career. I was also able to know him off the track. I was always amazed that when he was with athletes eating dinner, he was one of us, conversing as an athlete. But if a reporter joined us for dinner, his demeanor changed, to watch his word choice, and be careful what was said. One may read in the newspapers or media words that he has said, and question his intent. Know that there are words that he would like to say about drug cheats, money, and decisions that he keeps to himself - don't be fooled by his word selection: He loves Athletics... and this drives Seb Coe to push for improvement in our sport.
They say that one individual cannot make a difference that our sport is too far down the slippery slope. I say, let Seb run the race that is set before him. We have to win.