Sir Steve Redgrave surprised by Sebastian Coe's BOA bid


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The Independent Online

Sir Steve Redgrave admits he is “surprised” that Seb Coe wants to become the new leader of the British Olympic Association.

Coe is set to be selected as the new chairman of the BOA next month after Richard Leman, his sole rival for the role, announced his withdrawal from the race.

Redgrave believes Coe, who delivered a brilliant Olympics as chairman of the organising committee LOCOG, might become frustrated at the BOA's lack of power when it comes to making big decisions.

Redgrave, the five-time Olympic gold medallist, said: "I was surprised that Seb has gone for the chairmanship of the BOA, but potentially he can do fantastic job. He has done a fantastic job of chairing up LOCOG and the Games put on were spectacular.

"I know there were a lot of battles between LOCOG and the BOA on the way to delivery (of the Games).

"It will be exciting times to see how the BOA moves forward under his chairmanship, but the BOA is more of a guiding group than a group with power. He is still chairman of LOCOG until next year, but there was a sense of power within that position with the delivery of the Games.

"The BOA is a great organisation, but they are not the financial funder of sports, so when it comes down to who gets what financial support from Sport UK and Sport England on the funding side the sports tend to look at where their money is coming from and not at the power that is selecting the Olympic team at the end of it."

Redgrave, meanwhile, was due to be unveiled today as one of the panellists tasked with compiling the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

He won the award in 2000, the year he secured his fifth Olympic gold in the men's coxless four in Sydney, but he believes Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins is the outstanding candidate in a superlative year.

Wiggins also won time trial gold at London 2012, although Redgrave's concern is that his achievements could be tainted by the drug allegations surrounding Lance Armstrong.

Redgrave, who believes Wiggins should eclipse US Open tennis champion and London gold medallist Andy Murray, said: "Obviously there is a slight taint to cycling at the moment because of Lance Armstrong so there may be a bit of lashback, but I think Bradley is a clean athlete.

"We have had tennis players who have won Grand Slams. We have never had anybody who has won the Tour de France."

Redgrave also revealed three Paralympians, wheelchair athlete David Weir, cycling's Sarah Storey and swimmer Ellie Simmonds, would make his shortlist.