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Andy Murray, Jessica Ennis and Sebastian Coe win at Laureus Awards

Ennis, Murray and Coe honoured at Laureus Awards ceremony in Rio after stunning year for British sport

party just a little while longer.

British athletes, past and present, dominated at the Laureus World Sports awards in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night, as the world of international sport gathered at a glittering ceremony to celebrate an unforgettable year.

Britain may have handed over the Olympic and Paralympic flames to the 2016 host city, but the memory of London 2012 still burnt particularly bright 6,000 miles away in south America on Monday night.

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Congratulations: Track and field athlete Jessica Ennis receives her award for 'Laureus Sportswomen of the Year' as presenters Nadia Comaneci and Eva Longoria look on

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Couldn't make it: Andy Murray accepts his award on video because he was in Indian Wells to face Evgeny Donskoy

Ennis

Actress Maggie Cheung with Laureus Academy Member Martina Navratilova announce Andy Murray as the winner of 'Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year'

The winners…

World Sportsman of the Year – Usain Bolt

World Sportswoman of the Year – Jessica Ennis

World Breakthrough of the Year – Andy Murray

World Comeback of the Year – Felix Sanchez

World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability – Daniel Dias

Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award – Michael Phelps

Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award – Sebastian Coe

World Team of the Year – European Ryder Cup Team

World Action Sportsperson of the Year – Felix Baumgarter

Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis was crowned World Sportswoman of the Year, while Andy Murray won World Breakthrough and Sebastian Coe received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ian Poulter also accepted the Team of the Year prize on behalf of his European Ryder Cup team-mates.

Tony Blair called Lord Coe one of the ‘giants of British sport’ as the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee and double Olympic champion received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Edwin Moses and was honoured with a standing ovation.

‘I’m surrounded by the most extraordinary group of people, global icons,’ said Lord Coe, ‘and I realise that there is a commonality in the unshakeable belief we have in sport and the fact it transforms lives. This is extraordinary. I’m very, very flattered.’

Ennis beat off competition from fellow Olympic track and field gold medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix, swimmer Missy Franklin, skier Lindsey Vonn and tennis star Serena Williams to win her award, which was presented by former gymnast Nadia Comanechi.

A few hours earlier in a luxurious Rio hotel, Ennis had been discussing her shock and sadness at the closure of Don Valley Stadium in her hometown of Sheffield. Yet she looked equally composed collecting her award at the city’s dramatic Theatro Muncipal last night, during her 36-hour trip to the city in which she will aim to defend her Olympic title in three years’ time. We all know about the extraordinary pressure Ennis was under as the poster girl of London 2012, but it was poignant to see how the sporting world has realised it, too.

‘There was a lot of pressure in London,’ she said. ‘I looked back to what Cathy Freeman achieved in Sydney in 2000 (winning the 400 metres) and I really wanted to emulate that. I have incredible support from my friends and family and I was able to do it.’

Seb Coe

Usain Bolt

Triumphant: Lord Sebastian Coe (above) won the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award while Usain Bolt (right and below) was crowned World Sportsman of the Year

Victory: Usain Bolt

The winners are chosen by the Laureus Sports Academy, comprising 46 of the ‘greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen’, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Daley Thompson and Sir Steve Redgrave, who were all in Rio. Double Olympic decathlon champion Thompson, however, was the only Academy member in a T-Shirt and tracksuit.

Thompson said: ‘Jessica’s performance was majestic. She had the whole weight of the country’s expectation on her shoulders. Despite that, she certainly delivered.

‘She not only produced a wonderful display in her events but she gave the British team an enormous lift. Jessica showed she could win a gold medal, so everyone who followed her also felt they could do it as well.’

Murray was another British winner, receiving the Laureus Breakthrough award after winning Olympic gold and silver and his first Grand Slam at the US Open champion last September.

The Scot, 25, did not attend the ceremony owing to playing commitments in Indian Wells, but said: ‘It was an amazing year: my first Grand Slam in New York and two medals at the Olympics in my home country.

Chit chat: Usian Bolt talks to Laureus Academy Member Michael Johnson as he accepts his award

Laureus Academy Chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Acceptance: Bolt takes his award from Michael Johnson, while Laureus Academy chairman Edwin Moses hands the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award to Coe

Seb Coe with his trophy

'I would have taken that at the start of the year, that’s for sure. Winning an award like this will definitely make me more determined to come back and do better in 2013.’

A video was shown of Poulter receiving the Team of the Year award to mark Europe’s thrilling comeback to win the Ryder Cup.

‘With the legends in sport that have voted for us, it truly is a special trophy to put our hands on,’ he said.

Redgrave presented Michael Phelps with
the inaugural Exceptional Achievement Award, while Mark Spitz also paid
the American a tribute via video link. Phelps, though, was emphatic he
has no intention of trying to add to his 22 Olympic medals in Rio in
2016.

Other winners included
Usain Bolt, who won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay in London
and became Sportsmen of the Year for the third time, and Felix Sanchez,
the Olympic 400m hurdles champion in 2012 – eight years after his
Olympic title in Athens.

Brazilian
swimmer Daniel Dias, who won six individual gold medals at the
Paralympic Games, fended off competition from Britain’s David Weir to
win Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Austrian skydiver Felix
Baumgarter, who became the first human to go through the sound barrier
when he completed a 24-mile free fall over New Mexico in October, was
named World Action Sportsperson of the Year.

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

Nice work: Michael Phelps poses with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award in the winners studio at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro

The Ian Wooldridge award: Vote for your sporting hero

The Ian Wooldridge award: Vote for your sporting hero

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 20 December 2012

The Ian Wooldridge award

Established in honour of the late Sportsmail legend Ian Wooldridge, who died almost six years ago, the annual award is voted for by you, our readers.

It celebrates the combination of sporting genius and Corinthian spirit so beloved of 'Woolers'.

You can send your nomination by email and to help you in your selection, our writers offer their choices and the reasons behind them . . .

JONATHAN McEVOY

LORD COE

I suggest Ian would raise a glass to Sebastian Coe, even if age means that the great athlete is no longer quite 'every mother's son, every girl's dreamboat, every schoolboy's idol, every spinster's sigh, every reactionary's recollection of how young men used to be'.

Coe was one of Ian's favourite figures in sport, as you may have gathered. This summer Coe might also have succeeded in rekindling Ian's lost love for an Olympic movement that had become tarnished by the dual stimulants of cash and drugs. Ian would certainly have approved of the manner in which Coe presented the grand old city of London to the world.

Poster girl: Jessica Ennis wins heptathlon gold

Poster girl: Jessica Ennis wins heptathlon gold

DEREK LAWRENSON

Ian Poulter

Nominate your hero

Send an email to:

[email protected]

Poults at the Ryder Cup is the most compelling example imaginable of sport at the highest level boiled down to its purest essence. Here is a man who earns millions every year yet the most passionate you will ever see him is when he is playing for nothing for Europe.

Nothing was more miraculous at Medinah this year than the manner in which he breathed life into Europe to complete their astonishing comeback, and it was all underwritten with that certain sense of style that has earned him his worldwide following.

Not only would Woolers have enjoyed writing about Poulter, he would have enjoyed getting to know him as well.

PAUL NEWMAN

JESSICA ENNIS

Where to begin in this of all sporting years Ian would have loved 2012 and all the rich array of sporting goodies it provided, but I think he would have had a particular soft spot for Jessica Ennis. She carried the pressure of being the poster girl of the London Games with class and dignity and won her gold medal with that perfect blend of sporting genius and a big smile.

Mary Peters was a big favourite of Woolers and I think he would have seen echoes of her in Ennis. My vote goes to Jess.

Katherine Grainger: Personifies the cheery discipline of GB oarspeople that Ian would admire

Katherine Grainger: Personifies the cheery discipline of GB oarspeople

MIKE DICKSON

KATHERINE GRAINGER

Roll of honour

2008…………. Chrissie Wellington
2009…………. Rebecca Adlington
2010……………………. Jessica Ennis
2011……………………. Amy Williams
2012………………. Jonny Wilkinson

I have a feeling Ian would have liked Katherine Grainger, her equally delightful partner in the double sculls Anna Watkins, and would have revelled in the former winning gold this summer after three consecutive silver medals.

Her ready smile would appeal, as would the fact that she has a hinterland beyond her sport, studying for the PhD in homicide that helps make it easy for her to discuss matters way beyond the realm of rowing. She personifies the cheery discipline of GB oarspeople that Ian would admire.

Grainger can count herself extremely unlucky to only finish 11th in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, but winning this award would be some fitting consolation.

LAURA WILLIAMSON

DAVID WEIR

Not even Usain Bolt had his own theme music played inside the Olympic Stadium last summer, but 'The Weirwolf' did.

Weir covered more than nine miles in six races over 36 laps of the track to win Paralympic gold in the T54 800 metres, 1500m and 5,000m and then topped it all with a fourth gold in the marathon to become the greatest wheelchair racer of all time.

The scale of his sporting achievements in 2012 were incredible, yet even more impressive was the way Weir transformed people's perceptions of Paralympic sport.

The man who fell out of love with wheelchair racing, after seeing the Paralympics sidelined and maligned in Atlanta in 1996, returned, triumphant, 16 years later to put it firmly on the map. And this very British champion did it all powered by 'nothing more than beetroot juice'.

Beet that: David Weir in the 800m

Beet that: David Weir in the 800m

MARCUS TOWNEND

SIR HENRY CECIL

You do not need to be a racing fan to realise Frankel was a horse in a million nor to appreciate the massive contribution to his success of Sir Henry Cecil. The criteria for this award demands the description of genius in a nominee – that is not in doubt with the Newmarket trainer.

Science delivers fresh aids to his profession each passing season, but it is Cecil's all-seeing eye, allied to his innate feel for a horse, which helped him mould Frankel's raw strength into the turbo-charged racing machine which achieved a perfect 14-race career record. This was done while undergoing draining chemotherapy that ravaged Cecil's body and reduced his voice to a barely audible whisper. He had to miss the Sussex Stakes win at Glorious Goodwood in August but, with incredible courage, was back at Frankel's side amid never-to-be- forgotten scenes for the colt's final two wins.

ALAN FRASER

ALASTAIR COOK

Ian loved his cricket and he loved his genuine English cricketing heroes. He would have loved the full flourishing of Alastair Cook as a prolific run scorer and a winning captain.

Woolers might privately have preferred a bit more dash from Cook along the lines of a Denis Compton. But he would certainly have been impressed by Cook's steadfast refusal to have anything to do with the modern cult of celebrity. Five centuries in his first five matches as captain; the youngest to reach 7,000 runs in Test cricket; the most Test centuries, 23, by an Englishman. Yet, stats would not have been the clincher for Woolers. He would have looked at Cook, seen an unassuming, modest, dignified man with intelligence and steely resolve and thought: he will do for me.

Run machine: England captain Alastair Cook

Run machine: England captain Alastair Cook

JEFF POWELL

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL

The Ryder Cup captain's humble deference to his late friend and fellow Spaniard Severiano Ballesteros as the legendary inspiration for Europe's great comeback victory over the US at Medinah was very much in keeping with Ian's style.

Giving the award to Ollie would also expand the tribute to the memory of Seve, one of Woolers' all-time sporting heroes.

To vote email [email protected]

Sebastian Coe to be given

Coe to be honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award following successful Olympics

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UPDATED:

00:01 GMT, 16 December 2012

Sebastian Coe is to be honoured for his achievements on and off the track by being given the Lifetime Achievement Award at tonight's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

The broadcaster say Lord Coe's recognition comes not only for his efforts in leading the bid to bring, and subsequent successful delivery of, the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London, but also for his career as a middle-distance runner before that.

The 56-year-old, who was last month appointed as the new chairman of the British Olympic Association, won 1500m golds at successive Games in 1980 and 1984.

Starring role: Lord Coe was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to London

Starring role: Lord Coe was instrumental in bringing the Olympics to London

Coe took on the position of chairman of the London 2012 bid team in 2004 and played a key role in securing the vote ahead of a bid from Paris.

A 12-time world record-holder, he retired from the track in 1990 and became a conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne. In 2002 he was made a Peer, Lord Coe of Ranmore, and was knighted in 2006.

Previous winners of the lifetime achievement award include David Beckham, Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson and most recently Sir Steve Redgrave.

Iconic: Coe won gold in the 1500m at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow

Iconic: Coe won gold in the 1500m at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow

This year`s ceremony is one of the most eagerly anticipated in history, coming at the end of a memorable year for British sport.

Nicola Adams, Ben Ainslie, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Katherine Grainger, Sir Chris Hoy, Rory McIlroy, Andy Murray, Ellie Simmonds, Sarah Storey, David Weir and Bradley Wiggins are in the running for the award.

Wiggins, the Tour de France and Olympic time-trial gold medalist, is the current favourite.

Olympic and Paralympic heroes honoured by Queen at Buckingham Palace

A right royal celebration! Olympic and Paralympic heroes honoured at Buckingham Palace

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 23 October 2012

David Cameron hailed Great Britain's incredible summer of sport as the Queen hosted a glittering Buckingham Palace event for Olympic and Paralympic heroes.

Sportsmen and women who won gold for the nation during the summer's extravaganza of sport were invited to the palace to mark their achievements.

The Prime Minister joined the athletes and senior figures like Lord Coe who helped make the Games a success at the palace, where the Queen celebrated their efforts with the Duke of Edinburgh, Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family.

Pleased to meet you: The Queen greet London 2012 hero David Weir

Pleased to meet you: The Queen greet London 2012 hero David Weir

Mr Cameron said: 'I think people will look back and just think, 'what an incredible summer' – success after success, medal after medal and the whole country putting on its very best face for the world.

'What matters now is that we maximise the momentum and the legacy following the Olympics and Paralympics.

'We had a cabinet meeting about that and Seb Coe was there, and we were talking about the physical legacy of East London, the important economic benefits we want, there's the sporting legacy carried through to Rio and school sport, there's also the legacy in terms of attitude to disabilities, which I think is a real chance of a step change in our country.'

Team GB began the summer's medal rush by winning 65 in total, including 29 golds, an achievement that was hailed as the athletes' 'greatest ever' performance by Andy Hunt, their chef de mission for London 2012.

Amongst the stars who delighted the home crowds and the world with podium-topping performances were heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and sailor Ben Ainslie and double gold-winning runner Mo Farah. The Paralympics saw Great Britain secure 120 medals, including 34 golds.

Heroes' welcome: Rowers Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James in royal company

Heroes' welcome: Rowers Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James in royal company

Gold standard: Anthony Ogogo greets Her Majesty during the event at Buckingham Palace

Gold standard: Anthony Ogogo greets Her Majesty during the event at Buckingham Palace

Memorable performances included wheelchair athlete David Weir winning four golds, swimmer Ellie Simmonds powering home to two victories in the pool while sprinter Jonnie Peacock lit up the stadium with his blistering win in the T44 100 metres.

Sarah Storey cemented her place in the history books by winning four golds on her bike, taking her to 11 titles overall in a Paralympic career as both a swimmer and cyclist.

She described the evening as 'just incredible', adding: 'It is just such an honour and we are all very privileged to be part of such an amazing team. To have the Queen throw a reception in our honour makes everything that has happened even more amazing.

'The British public has been so supportive over the Paralympics and it has captured everybody's imagination.'

A number of household names like Hoy, Farah and Ennis were missing due to other commitments but one well-known face was available in Zara Phillips, who won a team silver in the Olympic equestrian competition.

Guests sipped champagne, wine and apple juice but towards the end of the evening many politely declined a drink as they have already begun training in earnest.

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to Prime Minister David Cameron

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to Prime Minister David Cameron

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to The Prime Minister

A line-up of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have all won three or more golds met the royal party, who included the Duke of York and daughter Princess Beatrice, the Princess Royal, President of the British Olympic Association, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

They included three-time Olympic cycling champion Jason Kenny, who won two golds at London 2012, swimmer Simmonds, who now has a total of four Paralympic titles, plus cyclist Storey and wheelchair racer David Weir, who each won four golds.

Proudly wearing her three golds from London 2012, Para-equestrian rider Sophie Christiansen, who is now a five-time Paralympic champion, said she was very excited to see the Queen.

Christiansen said: 'She asked me whether I enjoyed the Games, which obviously were phenomenal.

'I just want to do it all again because now I know what it takes to win three gold medals. Perhaps I could ask the Queen if she will lend me a horse (for the Rio 2016 Paralympics).

'My current horse is called Rio and he is still in training, but he is 15 now. He would be too old for the next Games.'

Para-equestrian rider Lee Pearson, who won his tenth Paralympic gold medal at the Games along with a silver and bronze, met Kate who picked up his gold medal, won in the mixed team championship.

Exchanging memories: The Princess Royal - a medal winner herself - meets cyclist Laura Trott

Exchanging memories: The Princess Royal – a medal winner herself – meets cyclist Laura Trott

Centre of attention: The Earl of Wessex talks to athletes

Centre of attention: The Earl of Wessex talks to athletes

The Duchess revealed she has developed a passion for horses and is learning to ride. The horseman joked: 'Kate said she's learning to ride so I offered to give her some lessons.

'She held my medals and said how heavy they were, and asked if me if I'd been riding all my life.'

The Duchess moved on to meet Team GB's women's hockey players, who became a firm favourite of the royal.

Kate was a keen hockey player as a student and she enjoyed watched the national team win their Bronze medal in a game against New Zealand.

The royal stood amongst the group of 12 women and the party looked like old friends as they chatted away together.

Emily Maguire, from Glasgow, said afterwards: 'The Duchess just said how much she enjoyed watching our games. She's lovely, she's just so easy to talk to and because she herself played hockey she has a real connection to the sport.'

Medal of honour: Nicola Adams and Hannah Cockcroft share their memories with the Queen

Medal of honour: Nicola Adams and Hannah Cockcroft share their memories with the Queen

Royal

Lord Sebastian Coe elected BOA chairman

Coe elected unopposed as new BOA chairman after opponent Leman withdraws from contest

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UPDATED:

17:47 GMT, 16 October 2012

Sebastian Coe will be elected unopposed to be the next British Olympic Association chairman after his only opponent withdrew from the contest.

Richard Leman, the head of British hockey, had faced an almost impossible task against Lord Coe after the success of the London 2012 Games.

It means Coe will be elected unopposed on November 7 to succeed Lord Moynihan at the helm of the BOA.

Coe looked unbeatable on the back of delivering the London Olympics and will have immense pulling power to bring in sponsors to aid the cash-strapped BOA.

New role: Lord Sebastian Coe

New role: Lord Sebastian Coe

Leman had canvassed opinion from leading figures in the British Olympic movement, most of whom advised him to withdraw gracefully.

Leman, an Olympic gold medal-winner in men's hockey at the 1988 Seoul Games, said: 'Recognising the unique circumstance in which we find ourselves in having the person who led the organisation and delivery of what is widely regarded as the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in history standing for election as our next chair, I have decided to put my full support behind Seb Coe and his candidacy.

'The opportunities and challenges we face during the next four years are unprecedented, and from my position as a member of board of directors, I will continue to work closely with our next chair, my colleagues on the board, the national Olympic committee and our staff to meet those challenges.

Summer of success: Coe launches the Paralympic Wall at the Athletes' Village

Summer of success: Coe launches the Paralympic Wall at the Athletes' Village

'Having had the opportunity to compete for Team GB at the Olympic Games, I have always viewed my service to the BOA as an opportunity to give something back to British sport by making certain subsequent generations of athletes benefit from the same life-changing experiences I enjoyed.'

Leman is now expected to stand for a BOA vice-chairman position next year.

Moynihan, understood to have initially encouraged Leman to stand, said: 'The British Olympic Association is in the enviable position of being able to attract accomplished leaders such as Richard Leman and Seb Coe to serve on its board.

'It is with leadership of this calibre that the BOA is well-placed to build upon its recent successes and continue making an important difference for British athletes as they pursue their Olympic dreams.'

BOA in crisis over Lord Sebastian Coe"s bid for top job: Charles Sale

BOA in crisis over Coe bid for top job

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 20 September 2012

The British Olympic Association are in turmoil just weeks after the momentous success of Team GB at London 2012 because of bitter in-fighting at the top of the organisation.

The divides have been sparked by chairman Lord Moynihan’s surprise decision to quit a year early with the BOA facing financial problems and many staff unsure of their futures in the downsizing after a home Games.

Even with hot favourite Lord Coe waiting to take over and his stardust urgently required to bring in missing sponsorship, the BOA board have been split over the succession process.

BOA lawyers, faced with an unclear rule book, persuaded the directors to keep to their agreed election date of November 7 even when some board members wanted to fast track Coe in a fortnight earlier because of the impending sponsorship crisis.

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

Hot favourite: Lord Coe

The mess was summed up by chief executive Andy Hunt in first rushing through his re-structuring agenda before the election of the new chairman and then jetting off to Brazil on a 2016 Games recce.

Yet his priority had to be to talk over proposed changes with his department heads.

Director of sport Sir Clive Woodward, whose role is not part of Hunt’s leaner blueprint, was due to leave the BOA in any case after London.

But a Coe-led regime would want Woodward to stay on in a part-time capacity as the potential chef de mission for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and Rio.

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Even if the acrimony between Hunt and
Woodward meant Sir Clive leaving before Coe’s arrival, it’s likely he
would be immediately re-hired for one or two days a week.

To
add to the debacle, Hunt is being advised to consult with Coe before
making any staff alterations. Yet he can hardly do that with GB Hockey
chief Richard Leman due to stand against Coe in the election despite
having no chance of winning.

And
Leman, a board ally of Lord Moynihan, who has influenced him to
challenge Coe, intends to canvass the 40-strong electorate on the
grounds that his leadership style would put more emphasis on minor
sports.

Arch politician
Moynihan’s exit strategy is confusing, to say the least. Having urged
Leman to stand, he was one of those wanting an early election that would
have hurried his foe Coe into office.

To
cap it all, suppliers Next are still trying to shift Team GB scarves,
the BOA merchandise which failed to sell during the Games, by slashing
the price to 50p.

Gold medals for all

The
awards season which stretches from October to May 2013 — when the Sport
Industry Group will be dolling out an absurd 19 gongs — is going to be
one long lap of honour for the Olympics.

So the short-listed Premier
League chief executive Richard Scudamore will know Lord Coe is certain
to be named City AM’s business personality of the year on October 17.

Roy does the rounds

Building bridges: Hodgson

Building bridges: Hodgson

After
the next international week in October, England manager Roy Hodgson and
assistant Ray Lewington intend to visit every Premier League club to
build relationships.

Following
Sir Alex Ferguson’s recent upset at the FA revealing an Ashley Young
injury, Old Trafford is unlikely to be the first port of call, although
Hodgson has said his relationship with Sir Alex remains cordial.

Pitch battle

Grassroots
Gloucestershire rugby club Drybrook keeping their main pitch in
pristine condition for the unlikely England kit launch there this week
meant a recent match between Cirencester third XV and Drybrook seconds
took place on a far less manicured surface.

Sadly, Daily Telegraph
sports journalist Matt Scott, a Cirencester back row forward, lost a
stud in the extra long grass shortly before snapping an anterior
cruciate ligament.

Data supply up for grabs

The
Premier League, on course for a 5billion haul from domestic and
overseas TV contracts, can even make plenty of money from their official
data supply contract.

The
Press Association, who hold the rights, are likely to be outbid in the
current tender by digital media companies Perform or Opta.

Sebastian Coe will stand to be chairman of the British Olympic Association

Olympics king Coe confirms he will stand for BOA chairman role

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UPDATED:

16:51 GMT, 10 September 2012

Sebastian Coe has confirmed he will stand to be the next chairman of the British Olympic Association.

Lord Coe, the London 2012 chairman, said he had been approached to stand as the successor to Colin Moynihan by the BOA committee appointed to draw up a list of candidates.

Coe said: 'I have been approached and I am happy for my name go to forward.'

Proud: Sebastian Coe waves to athletes during the parade on Monday

Proud: Sebastian Coe waves to athletes during the parade on Monday

Future: Lord Coe (right) could become the new chairman of the BOA

Future: Lord Coe (right) could become the new chairman of the BOA

More to follow.

London 2012 Olympics: Sir Clive Woodward praises Great Britain"s female Olympians

Sir Clive: The golden girls will inspire Britain's next generation after the Games have gone

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 10 August 2012

Sir Clive Woodward is a ladies’ man. Not that this revelation should alarm his wife Lady Jane. This knight of the realm is a gentleman. His interest in any other members of the fairer sex is confined exclusively to the promise which won the Games for London and which has to be honoured right now.

It’s the legacy, of course. ‘Legacy, legacy, legacy,’ vowed Lord Coe.

Well, the legacy starts on Sunday night. The moment the Olympic flame flickers and dies at the end of the closing ceremony the yet greater task of igniting a brilliant and unquenchable future for British sport begins.

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Games changer: Boxing golden girl Nicola Adams

Who will strike the first match ‘The girls,’ says Woodward. ‘The most striking feature of London 2012 has been the advances made in female sport.

‘Perhaps because they had further to go they have focused even more intensely and been open to fresh thinking about their preparation.’

So these are The Emancipation Games ‘Yes,’ says the elite performance director of the British Olympic Association. ‘The final breakthrough for the women. They have transformed the Olympic landscape.

‘No fewer than 48 per cent of the Team GB competitors are female. Their performances have been watched by all the live spectators here and the hundreds of millions of television viewers with the same fascination and excitement as the men.

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

Boxing clever: Adams beats China's Ren Cancan on her way to gold

‘We have arrived at true equality.’ Emmeline Pankhurst can sleep easy in her grave. The suffragettes who fought for the freedom to play men’s games as well as the right to vote can leave the rest to Sir Clive. He will employ the women to unlock the door to Seb Coe’s revolution in British sport.

The key to that is in the coaching. Woodward found it in the combat sports as Nicola Adams, in the boxing ring, and Jade Jones, on the taekwondo mat, boosted the surge of gold medals.

‘Just look at these girls,’ says Woodward. ‘They are not only talented but technically correct, fast, beautifully balanced, have perfect footwork and absolute commitment to their training. That tells us that they have world-class coaches and that is where the legacy has to come from.

‘It’s not only about the money and the facilities, although of course all that is important. The future is in the teaching.’

As the only England manager to win the Rugby World Cup, Woodward is the most iconic figure in team coaching in this country since Sir Alf Ramsey in the 1960s.

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

Talking a good game: Sportsmail's Jeff Powell talks to Sir Clive Woodward

That makes it all the more significant that he sees one-on-one coaching as the most vital element for every sport.

‘Look at it in the Olympic perspective,’ he says. ‘The most successful athletes have individual coaches. Some more than one. Jessica Ennis has her main coach but they also use specialists for some of her different disciplines in the heptathlon.

‘Without doubt that focused training is the most crucial. Our national football and rugby teams need one-on-one coaching for all the players.

‘Put it this way. If I could have a rugby XV in which every position was filled by an Olympic gold medal winner then that team would win. Without doubt. Team coaching is easy when you have properly schooled players.

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

Golden girl: Hepthalete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump and celebrates her win (below)

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

She's done it! Ennis celebrates her gold

‘I will go so far as to say that it would benefit football and rugby players to spend some time being coached in the combat sports. They develop that great balance as well as strength and grit — and courtesy, grace and good manners. Look how polite most Olympic athletes are.

‘Then who knows Some footballers who might not make it to the top could suddenly find another sport at which they could become stars, maybe Olympians.

‘The biggest lesson I learned from my time at Southampton Football Club was the need for concentration on individual skills. Matt Le Tissier told me about the hours he spent just working on his first touch and he became one one of the most highly skilled players in the country.

‘Look at the Brazilians. I went to watch their Olympic team play the other night and I was impressed by the way they all wanted to demonstrate that wonderful ability of theirs by running with the ball and taking on opponents.

‘That is the product of all the hours, days, weeks, months and years they spend with a ball on the beach. To be honest, I prefer that way of playing to teams who look to pass the ball at once, even Spain. Not least because for them it’s not just training. It’s the other factor we have to inject into the teaching — FUN in capital letters. But it is the individual coaching that matters, especially with the young.’

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Track star: Laura Trott won two gold medals

Good fit: Trott with her medal

To increase that factor a multi-million-fold, Woodward sends out this clarion call to every father and mother in the country to become coaches to their sons and daughters:

‘No-one spends more time with their kids than their parents.

‘Games teachers at school are essential but they may not get more than an hour a day with each child, if they are lucky. Imagine if they could send the boys and girls home with a schedule for them to work on their skills and fitness. Then they could be in training and thinking about the sports they love in the mornings and the evenings.

‘People talk about angry parents on touchlines but we need to educate them, too, to help their kids.

‘A prime example has been staring at us here — all the work that Judy Murray has put into Andy. If we can get millions of parents thinking like that we can bring out more success.

‘You don’t win gold medals unless you are totally committed and that is easier with the right kind of help. We are now seeing not only the men but more and more girls putting in that effort and it’s paid off.

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Welsh wonder: Jade Jones won taekwondo gold

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

Golden wonder: Jones with her medal

‘So I’m not talking about finding millions and millions in funding to pay for armies of trainers. I for one am not cynical about the way Government ministers have taken to coming to the Games and supporting our athletes.

‘I want them to become excited and then stay involved so that they continue to put in the finance where it’s needed. But I also want every mum and dad who is looking to get excited about how they can help their children.’

Coe’s slogan for London 2012 is: ‘Inspire a Generation’. His target is the potential athletes of the future.

Woodward adds another: ‘Inspire a Generation of Coaches’.

He says: ‘We need them if we are to be as successful at future Games as we have been in London. We’ve had home advantage here. Of course it’s helped. Would you rather take on the All Blacks at Twickenham or in Auckland

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

Taking it all in: Sir Clive Woodward enjoys the opening ceremony

‘Next time we are away. So we have to take it a step higher.

‘The challenge is difficult — to be at least as good in Rio as we have been here, then even better in all the Games after that. It can be done.

‘And if we do we will know that we have improved the health of the country, delivered something permanent and important for the feelgood factor in Britain and re-confirmed our belief in ourselves as a nation.’

Lord Sebastian Coe: I want to be IAAF president

Coe admits he is interested in replacing Diack as president of IAAF

|

UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 25 July 2012

Lord Coe has revealed that he wants to take charge of world athletics.

The 55-year-old double Olympic champion says he is ready to run for president of the IAAF governing body.

‘I’d be happy to run my sport and that is the first time I’ve given that answer,’ Coe said.

Hitting the heights: Lord Coe

Hitting the heights: Lord Coe

‘I’m ready. I know how to do this. But we have a great president in the post so it would have to be when he stands down.’

Lamine Diack’s presidency expires in 2015 and he is not expected to stand again. Coe’s main rival would be Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergei Bubka.

London 2012: Daley Thompson and Steve Redgrave could miss out on lighting Olympic flame

Daley and Redgrave could miss out on lighting Olympic flame after BOA pact with Coe

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UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 21 July 2012

A 'mutually-agreed solution' to
choose the person who lights the Olympic flame at the London 2012
opening ceremony has been settled on, according to one of the two people
making the decision.

The identity of the person is
supposed to remain secret until the actual moment, but according to
reports there has been a row between the British Olympic Association
(BOA) and the London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe as to who should have
the honour.

Daley Thompson

Sir Steve Redgrave

Rivals: Daley Thompson (left) and Sir Steve Redgrave (right)

Sir Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson are possible choices, as are Dame Kelly Holmes and Roger Bannister.

BOA chief executive Andy Hunt refused to say whether the person chosen would be an Olympian, but said: 'The debate is ongoing. We have a mutually agreeable solution – a good solution to the outcome. We are still in final discussions.'

Asked if there had been disagreements, he added: 'It's all very positive. It's a big topic.

'The decision between the two organisations is joint – it's a joint decision between LOCOG and the BOA.

'Clearly the ceremonies committee, which is made up Danny Boyle and the ceremonies team, will make a recommendation and has made recommendations and we can choose to support or not to support the recommendations. It's an act of dialogue.'

Daley Thompson

Steven Redgrave

Great Olympians: Thompson and Redgrave

Influence: Lord Coe

Influence: Lord Coe

Although London 2012's 'ceremonies
team' are officially involved, Deighton and Hunt are the kingmakers.
Both have signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the identity of the
cauldron lighter secret until the moment of truth on July 27. In the
event of a split verdict, it is likely that the view of LOCOG, as the
more powerful organisation with greater responsibility for the success
of the Games, would prevail.

Other options include devising a way of using both Sportsmail columnist
Thompson and Redgrave, plumping for a compromise candidate or pursuing a
different route, such as incorporating a child born on the day London
won the bid in 2005, to emphasise the legacy promises made by London
organisers.

Coe and Thompson spent the best years of their careers as team-mates. They each won the first of their two Olympic golds in Moscow in 1980 – Coe in the 1500 metres and Thompson in the ultimate 10-event test of athleticism, the decathlon. They repeated their respective feats four years later in Los Angeles, the Games at which Redgrave won the first of his five gold medals.

Coe and Thompson still speak regularly.
However, neither is thought to be especially friendly with Redgrave
beyond public niceties.

thomson v redgrave

A source close to Coe indicated the antipathy may date back to Redgrave speaking out against Coe joining the London bid board almost a decade ago. However, a LOCOG spokesman denied there was any rift.

Redgrave made some cutting remarks about Thompson in an article in the Evening Standard. He said: 'Obviously, Daley was a great athlete. Some people, Seb Coe included, think he's the best athlete ever. My personal view is that he doesn't make the top five of great British Olympians.

'I'd put Seb above him, and Kelly Holmes, certainly Ben Ainslie, and, all modesty aside, myself and Matt Pinsent. Arguably, Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins deserve to be rated higher. I say that because, to me, athletes compete at the decathlon if they are great all-rounders instead of being supreme in one event.'

It seems extremely unlikely that David Beckham will light the cauldron, which will burn in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, throughout the Games. Both the BOA and LOCOG feel an Olympian should fulfil the task. But he will almost certainly have another role, such as running with the torch in the lead-up to the lighting.

A LOCOG spokeswoman said: 'Discussions are taking place.'