Coe joins dash to win Olympics

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The Independent Online

The former Tory MP and double Olympic champion Sebastian Coe will be named this week as vice-chairman to American Barbara Cassani in the London bid for the 2012 Games.

Coe, 45, now Lord Coe of Ranmore, will act in a similar capacity to Ms Cassani as he did with the former Tory leader William Hague - aide-de-camp and chief adviser.

His appointment is the most significant of those made by Ms Cassani to the bid board. It will be met with relief in sporting circles fearful she was entering the Olympic race without a heavyweight sports figure at her side in a major capacity. The former 800m world record holder, who uniquely won back-to-back 1500m gold in Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984), later became MP for Falmouth and was recently elected to the council of the International Association of Athletic Federations, making him the most influential British personality in global sports administration.

When his name was not on the 15-strong list of board members, including Sir Steve Redgrave and the Granada chairman Charles Allen, it was thought Lord Coe may have been snubbed because of past differences with the British Olympic Association and its president, the Princess Royal, also a board member.

They fell out when he backed an earlier proposal for a London bid at the same time Manchester was going for the games. He was famously dubbed "a pratley" by the Princess. Ongoing negotiations between Ms Cassani and Lord Coe were concluded only yesterday. Last night Lord Coe said he had agreed not to comment on his appointment until it is made public this week but he confirmed his role would be "a significant one".

He told The Independent on Sunday: "I have always made it clear I would be pleased to play a part in getting the games for London. Now we are going all out to win."

Ms Cassani said: "I have a huge regard for Seb and I am pleased we will be using him in a capacity that embraces all his strengths."