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on 7 September 2017
I often read an autobiography and finish by not liking the writer. Completely the reverse with this one. Admiratiomn for achievements greatly increased. and he is up there with the likes of Bannister, Chattaway etc. Thank you for a most entertaining read

I was in the team that went to Vancoiver with Roger Bannister and witnessed the famous Landy/Bannister run. Inspirational and Seb Coe has same magic.

Vivienne
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on 20 June 2017
Having been keen on athletics, especially middle distance running, I was fascinated by the Coe/Ovett rivalry and wanted to get a better insight into that time and Coe's later life in politics and his involvement in the 2012 Olympics.
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on 28 December 2013
I bought this book for my daughter, who loves running, after I had been lent a copy and found it to be so interesting that I did not want to put it down. An excellent book, not just for runners, but for anyone who is interested in the politics of sport today.
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on 15 April 2017
loved it
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on 13 September 2017
A present.
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on 25 August 2013
I enjoyed reading this book which gives a fascinating insight into Seb's remarkable life. Definitely recommend it for others to read.
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on 31 October 2014
Good seller would use again thanks
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on 15 November 2012
This is a book written on the back of the great success, for which Coe can claim a lot of the credit, of the London Olympics and Paralympics. The author gives a lot of insights into the bidding process and help received from diaparate people as Ken Livingstone, Tony Blair, Tessa Jowell, John Prescott and Juan Antonio Samaranch, though I felt he skated over Samaranch's dubious record in the Franco era.
The book is long (470 pages of text, plus illustrations)and I found the first few sections dealing with his childhood and adolescence, the most interesting. His father Peter played a huge part in his success as an athlete, and he paints a justly admiring picture of his father, who was regarded by the athletics establishment as a bit of a heretic. Seb, too, had several brushes with the sports authorities until recent times, and once he was famous was exposed to more than one made-up story in the tabloids, two of which he successfully sued.
The athletics part of the book - the major part, obviously - races along at breakneck speed, interrupted by the period as a Tory MP (despite having grown up in a Labour area) which was a principal ingredient in the breakdown of his first marriage. There is a good account of his 'rivalry' with Steve Ovett, exaggerated by the media.
There are one or two sloppy uses of English ('equally as') which is all that stopped me awarding the book five stars. Incidentally there is another book by a fellow Olympian, though a less distinguished one - but of course there is no copyright in titles.
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on 22 November 2012
You wonder how long this book or the idea of this book was a glint in the eye of Seb Coe.
He has had so many opportunities throughout his glittering career to have sat down and put pen to paper to tell "my story" but averred. Something must have told him to hold on, just wait, and not make a hasty dash for the line,- until this year- the year of perhaps his greatest triumph- the London 2012 Olympics. In this regard Seb Coe and his autobiography are very different from the hordes of other autobiographies rushed out to make the most of "ten minutes of fame."

The book starts off with Seb's 'roots' and the story of his father, Peter Coe.( the ultimate "autodidact" as Seb puts it). His personality explains a lot about the latter father-son relationship which is discussed in a very open manner ( yes, Peter Coe did tell his son that he ran like a c*** after the 800m at Moscow where he won Silver) and generally the book did not have the feel of hagiography ( Seb is honest enough to recount what he perceives as personal failings and this does create a more rounded and realistic self portrait). What you do also realise if you didnt already know this was that when it came to running, Seb Coe was a very lucky man indeed in the choice of his highly analytical father. In this regard I think the 'old man' would be pleased with his son's efforts to set the record straight about their relationship.

The story rapidly moves on however to look at athletics, and writing about the most fascinating aspect of Coe's life (for many of us) was always going to be a fine balancing act- I mean the Coe versus Ovett story. I initially thought this bit was a little undercooked but then on further reflection saw that most of the hype and media interest in the pair was just that- hype. After all these two did not run against each other that frequently and were not all that close- how does one manufacture up some 'great rivalry' out of that? (However if you are interested in more of this, Pat Butcher does an okay job at tackling this theme in The 'Perfect Distance, Ovett and Coe'.) Nevertheless you can't help feeling that Coe is maybe holding out a little on the reader in terms of how he felt about Ovett at the time.

Coe covers the Olympic periods of Moscow and LA and most interestingly Barcelona and why he didnt make it,- which when seen from the perspective of our poor more recent middle distance running achievements is quite sad.

Then we have a large section devoted to life after sports as an MP and then working for William Hague- interesting how some of the most amusing (laugh out loud) bits cover this period! - before getting the job of 'landing' and then 'running' the 2012 Olympics.

Overall a very interesting story, with a number of genuine learning points in there for sportsmen and those interested in leadership and coaching (though it is an autobiography not a manual!)- I did however note some typo's and also more importantly some factual errors whith regards to performances. This is something that could easily have been fact checked before printing:

(eg Flo Jo's 100m record was set in 1988 not 1984 and doubts as to its veracity are more to do with the timing equipment than confirmed drug taking. Then, Linford Christie who came third and not fourth in Seoul and was elevated to Silver not Bronze when Ben Johnson was banned.)

These are probably just accidental slips of the fingers on the keyboard by a man with a lot to do - but then again Seb and Linford don't exactly get on do they? More importantly, when even I can spot glaring errors like this it makes you wonder about other errors beneath the surface. This, for me, definitely rubbed off some of the gloss on what was otherwise an enthralling, well written (ghosted?) and enjoyable read.
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on 28 January 2013
This was really well written and brought me back to my teenage years when I followed athletics fervently. When you get used to Seb Coe's ability to remind everyone just how wonderful he was/is then it is a fascinating read. The difference to other autobiographies of sports stars is that he has a wonderful story to tell of all of the strands of his life. Not to be missed
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