LONDON — Peering over glasses and hunching slightly his still-thin frame, Lord Sebastian Coe looks more professorial than Olympian. He fields angry questions about empty seats at venues, and attempts to maneuver past the controversial subject during a press conference.
“I don’t think this is going to be an issue right through the Games,” says Coe, who then outlines the plan for handling the problem.
He is tireless and tirelessly optimistic when it comes to the London Olympics, even when confronted with headline-making glitches and typically dour British attitudes.
Coe, 55, sees the 17-day event in grand, inspiring, legacy-leaving terms. And as the chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and the face of the Games, he embraces the challenge of it all, much the way he welcomed the challenge of middle-distance running when told he wasn’t fast enough to be an 800-meter runner and not tall enough for the mile. Coe became arguably the greatest middle-distance runner of the 20th century, perhaps of all time, with 1,500-meter gold medals in the 1980 and 1984 Games and 11 world records.
Now, his athlete’s drive, discipline, and determination have London barreling ahead.
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