After a glittering athletics career, winning Sports Personality of the Year and becoming chairman of FIFA’s independent watchdog, Sebastian Coe was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2006 New Year’s Honours list for his services to sport.
So when I met him, it was a big faux pas to just stick out my hand and utter the words: ‘Hi Seb, it’s lovely to meet you.’ Heck I forgot all formalities, dropping Lord from the equation, and opting to call a shortened version of his first name. He was very nice though and didn’t seem fussed, so thankfully the event I had put effort into organising for a few months prior hadn’t been scuppered.
On his East of England tour prior to the Olympics, with the help of his PA, a short informal visit was planned to the charity I was working at. I’ll gush a little now, because it was pretty amazing to meet him even in a non-sporting capacity and get a peek inside the terribly concise and busy life of the LOCOG chairman.
Let’s not forget though that despite an impressive CV, Seb rose to fame in the Olympic Games of the early 1980s before moving into politics in sporting retirement.
His Olympic Games closing speech may still be reverberating around the UK ‘we did it right‘, but it’s not long now until the next spectacle begins and I can only hope it’s just as inspirational as what we all witnessed a couple of weeks ago.
Bring on the Paralympics!