Lord Sebastian Coe elected as IAAF President

Loughborough University is delighted that our Pro Chancellor Lord Sebastian Coe has been elected the new President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Graduating from Loughborough University in 1979 with a BSc in Economics and Social History, Seb went on to win 1500m gold at both the Moscow and Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984 as well as breaking no fewer than 11 world records during a dazzling athletics career.

Lord Coe played a leading role in winning the bid for London to stage the 2012 Games, with his inspirational presentation to the International Olympic Committee a key moment in the bid’s success. Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) Seb oversaw arguably the most successful Games in history, something which instilled great confidence in the National Federations who went on to vote for him.

In the end the former middle distance man polled 115 votes to the 92 gained by pole vault world record holder Sergey Bubka of the Ukraine. Coe will succeed 82-year-old Senegalese Lamine Diack, who is stepping down from the role after 16 years, at the conclusion of the IAAF World Championships which start in Beijing on Saturday (August 22). He is now expected to be appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a role he is likely to take up just before next year's Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Thirty-four years to the day since he set a world record for the mile in Zürich, Coe claimed his election was the "second most momentous moment in my life" behind the birth of his children. 

"These words are not in any way rehearsed; first I would like to thank Sergey for a thoroughly good and long campaign. There is no task in my life for which I have been better prepared, no job I have ever wanted to do more, nor would be more committed to.

“I’m very flattered, very, very honoured to have been elected President - I haven’t had much of a chance to let it sink in. It has been a long road. I joined an athletics club when I was 11, I had the joys of Olympic competition and I the joys of being able to put on one of the greatest sporting events ever, but this is the pinnacle. It’s my sport, it’s my passion.”

The election of 58-year-old Coe came at the end of a marathon campaign during which he travelled 700,000km - the equivalent of four times around the world - and met a representative from all 214 countries who are a member of the IAAF. 

Coe is only the sixth President in the 103-year history of the IAAF and the second Briton to hold the role, following the Marquess of Exeter, better known as Lord Burghley, who held the position between 1946 and 1976.

Like Coe, Burghley was an Olympic gold medallist, winning the 400m hurdles at Amsterdam 1928; Like Coe, he was organiser of the Olympic Games in London, in 1948; and, like Coe, he was chairman of the British Olympic Association. 

There was also reason to celebrate for another Loughborough graduate, as marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe was elected to the IAAF Cross Country Committee for the first time.

Upcoming events

View all events