Day 2: Seb Coe on Trust and Doping

February 25, 2015

Double Olympic gold and silver medalist, 11-time world record holder and 2012 London Olympic chairman Sebastian Coe is running to succeed Lamine Diack as the next head of the IAAF.

We’re honored that Coe has chosen as the venue to make his case for the presidency to the US track and field and world (and mid-d and distance fans across the globe). Recently, Coe sat down for an interview with Brendan Foster, the 1972 Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist and founder of Nova International, and talked about his vision for the sport moving forward. The interview, which has been broken up into five parts, is being released first on We’ll have one video for five days straight. Day 1: Seb Coe States His Case Is Here

The day two video, where Coe talks about trust and doping, appears below. We’ve provided a transcript of some the day two highlights and they appear below the video.

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Video by FilmNova Sport Production –

Seb Coe On The Doping Problem:

“Yes you can trust the sport, but we cannot assume that the same corporate governances that were in place 20 or 30 years ago are good enough any longer.

Trust is the key word here. This isn’t just about the athletes. Fair play is not a concept rooted only on the track. It starts at the very top of the sport and it permeates its way through to the grassroots. So the tone and style for the sport is set from the top…

It’s absolutely vital that people believe in our sport. That the athlete lining up in lane three feels that he or she has got as good of chance as the athlete in lane 4 or lane 2 and not because there is a better set of chemists setting there in the wings. The competitors going to major championships have got to know that they are on a level playing field – in other words, that the testing systems are tough and they are tough across the board and the sanction is understandable. Thirdly, the spectators going into those stadiums have got to know what they are watching is real.

We have to be open about this. This has not been a great couple of years, but the sport can survive that.  I’ve always, always preferred to face the short-term embarrassment than the long-term genteel decline… This is not a war we can lose. We have to do that (fight doping) because the trust and integrity of our sport (is critical). (Our sport) would not have survived three weeks – let alone 33 centuries if it had been based on anything other than the ability to focus, to have great coaching, to work hard, be dedicated and to have natural talent.

If you dissolve those philosophies to anything less than that, then you’ve lost it (the sport). It’s really important that we hold hard to that. Yes, you have to educate young people. Yes, you have to have systems that are in place that are non-negotiable and uncompromising. Yes, you need to keep up with the illegitimate side of science. You need to go on committing resources – and I would treble those resources if we have to – but there also is a moral imperative here. Sooner or later, you have to sit down with young people and say, ‘Actually it is cheating. It’s cheating. You don’t need to do it. Plenty of athletes have reached the very highest level and have achieved at the highest level without doing that.’ You (Brendan Foster) and I are good examples of that. ‘And your success is predicated on good coaching, hard work and training smarter than the next person.'”

Seb Coe responds when asked when the day will arrive that the sport is totally clean:

“It’s probably never going to arrive because we are not utopian – we are not living in la-la land here. There always will be a group of people that want to chance it. What we have to make sure is that those that do (cheat), get caught, they get sanctioned properly and they are removed from the sport. And you do it not simply because you want to make an example of them, but because your fundamental responsibility is to protect the clean athletes that want to do it with integrity.

And you can’t (have athletes starting) off at the age of 10 or 12 and (thinking) , ‘Actually my ambitions and my horizons are limited as sooner or later I’m going to hit a glass ceiling where people are not going to be competing legitimately.'”

Other Days:
Day 1: Seb Coe States His Case For The IAAF Presidency (Intro & Summary)
“There’s not a sport in the world that has that universality (213 nations), that global reach (of athletics). It’s tougher to get a medal in a track and field championship than any other sport. But the sport has its challenges. I think we recognize that we’ve struggled, valiantly on occasions, but we have struggled to connect with the next generation…I take great exception to people from outside our sport trying to redesign our sport because they don’t fundamentally understand the nature, the history and the philosophy of it….If I’m in a position to shape the future of my sport, why on earth would I not want to do that?”

Day 2: Seb Coe On Why Trust In The Sport Is Critical/Why Drugs Must Be Eradicated “Fair play starts at the very top of the sport… The tone and style is set from the top… It’s absolutely vital that people believe in our sport….The spectators going into those stadiums have to go to know what they are watching is real…We have to open about this… I’ve always, always preferred to the face short-term embarrassment than the long-term genteel decline… This is not a war we can lose.”

Day 3: Seb Coe On Growing The Sport Commercially For The Athletes
“We’ve got a sport, I think we’ve got to create a movement…. There are millions of people around the globe that run. I don’t think enough of them see what they do as being related in any way with Usain Bolt does. I think we’ve got to create a running movement…What sport is better placed to actually make a difference (with obesity) than athletics?…We need to do more to explain the fee structure and income structure. I’ve never had a problem about appearance money. I think we should be really open about that. I don’t think we should be too coy or shy.”

Day 4: On Marketing The Sport Across 213 Member Federations – One Size Doesn’t Fit All Coe advocates moving money from Monaco to the member federations who know what works best locally. “We have to put the member federations in the best possible position to deliver the sport in the way they know there is a local interest….We’ve got to find the key drivers of growth for the sport and we’ve got to be able deliver that sport in a much more flexible way.”

Day 5 (Coming Saturday): On The Possibility Of The Sub-2 Hour Marathon

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