Coe proves he's a peerless sporting salesman

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The Independent Online

It's the L word. Not London but legacy. From the moment he strode on to the stage in Singapore six years ago to sell the capital's Olympic bid, Seb Coe has preached legacy.

It's a message he took to Monte Carlo yesterday and it is a message that worked again in another notable performance from Britain's sporting salesman.

The man who won the Olympics has now won the athletics world championships – and in passing done no harm to his prospects of becoming the next president of the IAAF. Coe's presence at the business end of both bids is key but this is a victory that will come as more of a relief than the triumph that was securing the Olympics.

Legacy is a complex issue. Olympic promises of inspiring a generation to take up sport will not be met – no Games has ever led to increased participation in the host country. But there is one legacy that will be realised and it is one Coe has always strongly identified himself with.

Athletics is Coe's sport and it is British athletics that wins most from yesterday's decision. There is now concrete reason to justify keeping the running track in the Olympic Stadium; its muddled future looks clearer, though certainly not to the 100 years that was being bandied around Monte Carlo.

If London had lost there would have been valid questions over the viability of a 60,000 post-Games stadium with a running track. The ammunition is still there – post-2017, how often will athletics fill the ground? – but thanks to Coe there is now armour plating in place for the Mayor of London, the government and the rest of Coe's pro-track camp.