Tag Archives: triathlon

Alistair Brownlee in hospital to have appendix removed

Olympic triathlon champion Brownlee recovering after appendix operation

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UPDATED:

12:11 GMT, 3 October 2012


Golden boy: Alistair Brownlee's big moment

Golden boy: Alistair Brownlee's big moment

Super-fit Olympic hero Alistair Brownlee confirmed he has had to go to hospital for the first time – to have his appendix removed.

The triathlon gold medallist, from Bramhope, near Leeds, said he was taken ill as he travelled to catch a flight to Brazil last week.

After first consulting with his doctor father Keith, he was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where he had to have his appendix removed in a routine operation.

Brownlee, who provided one of the most high-profile success stories of London 2012, took to Twitter to thank his father for the advice and the NHS for his treatment.

He tweeted: 'Yes it was my appendix. Got horribly ill last week, went into hospital with a sore tummy and came out 2 days later. Thanks Dad and the NHS!'

He added: 'Was on my way to airport en route to Brazil, trip put back a week and first trip to a Hospital instead.'

Oh brother: Brownlee celebrates gold with bronze-winning brother Jonny (right)

Oh brother: Brownlee celebrates gold with bronze-winning brother Jonny (right)

Brownlee even posted a graphic surgical picture of his infected body part and joked that he might put it on eBay.

His father, who is a consultant paediatrician, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: 'The whole family was absolutely delighted at the care and treatment Alistair received from the doctors, nurses and other staff at Leeds General Infirmary.'

Dr Brownlee did not perform the appendectomy.

Lance Armstrong wins Navy Seals triathlon

Under-fire Armstrong wins first triathlon race since being given lifetime sports ban

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UPDATED:

12:13 GMT, 1 October 2012

Lance Armstrong has put his continued doping trials behind win by winning his first triathlon since his lifetime ban.

The American, who was banned by US doping
authorities in August from all official sporting events and told all his
cycling accomplishments would be forfeited, completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run in the Superfrog Triathlon in just three hours, 49 minutes and 45 seconds.

The famous cyclist was allowed to
enter the tough challenge because it is unsanctioned and not subject to
rules under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Riding to glory: Lance Armstrong won his first sporting event since his lifetime ban - and completed the tough Superfrog challenge in record time

Riding to glory: Lance Armstrong won his first sporting event since his lifetime ban – and completed the tough Superfrog challenge in record time

Retro: Lance Armstrong decided to go old school and wear a speedo for the bike and run

But Lance Armstrong stuck with a traditional wetsuit for the swimming part of the triathlon

Retro: Lance Armstrong decided to go old school and wear a speedo while cycling and running, left, but opted for a traditional wetsuit to complete the swimming section of the triathlon, right

Before starting the race, a defiant Armstrong declared: 'I am not banned from life'.

And after smashing the Superfrog record on Sunday, he tweeted: 'Had a helluva good time in the @superfrogtri today. Thx to all who came out and like always, a massive thanks to all the volunteers!'

And he also made a joking reference
to his tiny shorts worn in the race, tweeting: 'In honor of the sports
roots I've decided to rock the speedo, grape smuggler, banana hammock,
etc for the whole race. #oldschool'

Leon Griffin from Australia came in second and Tyler Butterfield, from Bermuda, came in third.

The women's Superfrog was won by Beth Gerdes Walsh, from Encinitas, in four hours, 37 minutes and nine seconds.

Challenging: The Superfrog Triathlon was created by the Navy Seals in 1979

Challenging: The Superfrog Triathlon in Coronado, California, was created by the Navy Seals in 1979

Armstrong became a heroic figure in the sporting world after coming back from losing one testicle to cancer and going on to win the Tour De France a record-breaking seven times.

All proceeds from the race in Coronado in California go towards the Navy Seal Foundation after members of the Navy Seals designed the tough route in 1979.

The Superfrog website states: 'Superfrog Triathlon is the first and longest running half Ironman.

'The intent was twofold: to prepare SEALs for what was then the brand new Hawaii Ironman Triathlon and to encourage the new sport of triathlon in the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and SEAL Teams where physical training was multifaceted and the competitive spirit was high.'

'The new goal is to push endurance sporting events to the next level through world class production, the best competition, integration of the latest technology, and a focus on improving the racer and spectator experience.'

Record breaker: Lance Armstrong won the Superfrog triathlon in just three hours, 49 minutes and 45 seconds

Record breaker: Lance Armstrong won the Superfrog triathlon in just three hours, 49 minutes and 45 seconds

Olympic bronze medallist Jonny Brownlee closes in on world triathlon title

Olympic bronze medallist Brownlee closes in on world triathlon title

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UPDATED:

22:25 GMT, 25 August 2012

Olympic bronze medallist Jonny
Brownlee claimed his third World Series win of the season to put himself
in pole position to succeed brother Alistair as world champion.

Jonny, 22, who tops the rankings
after his victory in Stockholm, said: 'I haven't done a lot of training
since London and it was a tough race.'

Pole position: Jonny Brownlee

Pole position: Jonny Brownlee

London 2012 Olympics: Alistair and Jonny Brownlee geared for gold

EXCLUSIVE: Brownlee brothers are geared for triathlon gold in London

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UPDATED:

22:32 GMT, 16 July 2012

When UK Sport announced their medal targets for the London 2012 Olympic Games, triathlon was in the 'one to two' bracket.

You can make that one or two golds for a start, plus another medal in the men's event. This is a sport that isn't interested in aiming low. Great Britain boast the two current triathlon world champions: Alistair Brownlee and Helen Jenkins.

Brownlee's younger brother Jonny also came second in the 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in Beijing last October. The British Triathlon Federation have picked their team accordingly.

Win or bust: Alistair Brownlee in London last year

Win or bust: Alistair Brownlee in London last year

The selectors are only interested in 'medal contenders' and have therefore chosen two 'domestiques' in the six-person squad.

Stuart Hayes, 33, and Lucy Hall, 20, are only there to help one of the Brownlees and Jenkins win gold.

'I think it's fantastic,' says Alistair Brownlee, 24. 'It's a massive step from picking the three best athletes to picking a team that's most likely to win a gold medal.

'It's all about performance and that's a big step for British sport and especially triathlon. It's a very un-British attitude, really. Triathlon needs an Olympic medal to retain funding so that's why they've selected this team.

'Jonny and I will go for the individual medal and the third person is only there to support us. They'll do more of a share of the work on the bike to try and push the pace along, go and chase people if there's a breakaway and help one of us if we get a puncture.

'Jonny and I always work to help each other out until we start running. Then it's just a race.'

Jenkins, 28, is a little more diplomatic than Yorkshire-born Brownlee, who doesn't much care for mincing his words.

Team ethic: Helen Jenkins with the Brownlee brothers make up Team GB's elite squad

Team ethic: Helen Jenkins with the Brownlee brothers make up Team GB's elite squad

Her husband and coach, Marc, bristles at the suggestion it is not a particularly British thing to do; this wonderful disregard for taking part and complete focus on winning.

'It has been said it's almost unfair to win, but it's the nature of sport,' he says. 'You create a race-winning scenario and that's what we're trying to do.'

'I think it's a good thing,' adds Jenkins. 'There are certain race scenarios which benefit me. If it's a fast swim, a hard bike race and there are less people (in contention) on the run, I've got more chance of winning.

'It's a harsh policy if you're the third, fourth or even second-best athlete – and I've been in that position – but you have to look at it as the way it is. 'We've known what our selection policy is for two years. Our future funding for the sport depends on medals.'

Both Jenkins and Alistair Brownlee insist they are comfortable with the 'favourite' tag going into London; a tag loaded with even more pressure owing to Britain's selection policy.

Jenkins and her husband, who competed in the 2004 Olympic triathlon, will prepare for the race in Hyde Park in their 'little bubble' at their home in Bridgend, Wales, where they have converted their garage into a gym.

'It's not to say that everybody should be coached by their husbands,' she says. 'But it's always worked well for us. It's not like Marc's standing over me. It's pretty relaxed.

'It's just life. We don't really know any different. We're pretty good at switching off from it.'

Brownlee, too, sees his family
connections in the sport as a positive. Jonny won two races, in San
Diego and Madrid, when Alistair was out for four months earlier this
year after suffering a tear in one of his achilles tendons, but the
older brother returned to winning ways in Kitzbuhel, Austria, last
month.

Winning feeling: Alistair won gold in Beijing last year

Winning feeling: Alistair won gold in Beijing last year

'It's good, most of the time,' says Alistair. 'We push each other on and we train hard together and we can race together and help each other in races, but it can be tough as well. 'When I'm injured and sat there and he's going out training, that's pretty tough.

'I didn't actually watch his races. I think the important thing when you get an injury like that is you take yourself so far away; you don't really give yourself a chance to miss it.'

Alistair's coach, Malcolm Brown, has noted his injury could have been a blessing in disguise as he prepares to race in London, but Brownlee scoffs at the suggestion.

He has not enjoyed spending more time than normal in the gym – 'I hate it' – and the pool, swimming and using an underwater treadmill. He much prefers to be outside, cycling and running.

'Has it helped Not really!' he says, 'I think that's dressing it up, probably. But you never know. Just being given that bit of perspective; being able to take that step back – especially this year – might be beneficial. But I think in a perfect world it wouldn't have happened.'

The pursuit of the 'perfect world', after all, is what British triathlon is all about.

GE is a Worldwide Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the Elite Partner of the GE GB Triathlon team – providing support and expertise for the athletes as they prepare to compete at the highest levels. See more at: www.facebook.com/GEtriathlon

Wayne Rooney Las Vegas trip backfired on England striker at Euro 2012

Wayne's foolish gamble: Las Vegas trip before Euros left him a busted flush

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UPDATED:

12:43 GMT, 28 June 2012

A little more than a month before he hopes to win gold in the Olympic triathlon in Hyde Park, Alistair Brownlee is in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz. He is there with his younger brother Jonathan, swimming, cycling and running at high altitude in preparation for the Games.

Little more than a month before that game against Ukraine in Donetsk last week, Wayne Rooney was in Las Vegas. He was completing his very own triathlon. One that included partying, eating and probably a bit of drinking, too.

Brownlee is ploughing up and down a swimming pool. Rooney lazed on a sun lounger in his hotel.
Las Vegas is not renowned for its sporting facilities. There are some fine golf courses and they pump oxygen into the main casino halls to keep the punters awake.

Chips are down: Wayne Rooney in Las Vegas with former team-mate Wes Brown

Chips are down: Wayne Rooney in Las Vegas with former team-mate Wes Brown

But nobody comes out of there ready for 120 minutes of quarter-final action against Italy. Vegas is the world capital of excess. Great fun but not somewhere that lures the finest athletes on the planet a few weeks before a major competition.

Unless, that is, you happen to be Rooney and unless you have a new England manager who probably wasn’t in the job long enough to implement those kind of ground rules.

Before the next World Cup, one would hope Hodgson has a word with his players and asks them not to go anywhere that involves an 11-hour flight and provides only basic hotel gym facilities.

Going to Vegas was not Rooney’s only mistake. That red card in Montenegro proved every bit as costly. Probably more. It forced Hodgson to limit him to half-an-hour of second-half action in the two pre-tournament friendlies and left the 26-year-old striker reduced to the role of spectator as his colleagues tried to sharpen their skills against France and Sweden.

Struggling: Rooney seemed out of condition in Ukraine

Struggling: Rooney seemed out of condition in Ukraine

The value of taking Rooney to Ukraine with them on both those occasions might be worth looking at, too. It enabled him to be part of England’s journey, to be there as that sense of spirit and unity grew.

But his time might have been better served working back here with a fitness coach, just as it would have made sense to ask Rooney to report for international duty with the majority of England’s players before the Norway game and not when Chelsea’s Champions League players joined up. It was just more time for him to lose condition.

In Krakow on Monday, Hodgson dismissed talk of Rooney’s fitness being an issue. This surprised most observers who saw how a purple-faced the 26-year-old forward appeared to be blowing after 25 minutes against Ukraine and Italy; who performed so far below his usual high standards. He looked heavy and sluggish.

Far from his peak: Rooney lacked his trademark burst of pace at Euro 2012

Far from his peak: Rooney lacked his trademark burst of pace at Euro 2012

On Monday Hodgson said there was nothing that had shown up in his fitness tests to cause concern. /06/27/article-0-13C4C601000005DC-270_634x337.jpg” width=”634″ height=”337″ alt=”Ground rules: Roy Hodgson must avoid a repeat in future” class=”blkBorder” />

Ground rules: Roy Hodgson must avoid a repeat in future

In 2006, Rooney was injured. In 2010 he was returning from injury and distracted by problems that were about to emerge in his private life. This time mistakes were clearly made prior to his first appearance at Euro 2012.

But this time they were mistakes that were so avoidable. Stupid, self-destructive mistakes. The red card and the trip to the home of red or black. They are mistakes Hodgson and Rooney must now learn from in an effort to deliver him to Brazil with half a chance of performing on the world stage, a decade after his last decent contribution at a major tournament.

He returned to the US on holiday, this time to Los Angeles with wife Coleen on Wednesday. In two years’ time he must avoid these trips until after the big event.

Stats: Rooney in tournaments

Wayne"s foolish gamble: Las Vegas trip before Euros left him a busted flush

Wayne's foolish gamble: Las Vegas trip before Euros left him a busted flush

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 27 June 2012

A little more than a month before he hopes to win gold in the Olympic triathlon in Hyde Park, Alistair Brownlee is in the Swiss ski resort of St Moritz. He is there with his younger brother Jonathan, swimming, cycling and running at high altitude in preparation for the Games.

Little more than a month before that game against Ukraine in Donetsk last week, Wayne Rooney was in Las Vegas. He was completing his very own triathlon. One that included partying, eating and probably a bit of drinking, too.

Brownlee is ploughing up and down a swimming pool. Rooney lazed on a sun lounger in his hotel.
Las Vegas is not renowned for its sporting facilities. There are some fine golf courses and they pump oxygen into the main casino halls to keep the punters awake.

Chips are down: Wayne Rooney in Las Vegas with former team-mate Wes Brown

Chips are down: Wayne Rooney in Las Vegas with former team-mate Wes Brown

But nobody comes out of there ready for 120 minutes of quarter-final action against Italy. Vegas is the world capital of excess. Great fun but not somewhere that lures the finest athletes on the planet a few weeks before a major competition.

Unless, that is, you happen to be Rooney and unless you have a new England manager who probably wasn’t in the job long enough to implement those kind of ground rules.

Before the next World Cup, one would hope Hodgson has a word with his players and asks them not to go anywhere that involves an 11-hour flight and provides only basic hotel gym facilities.

Going to Vegas was not Rooney’s only mistake. That red card in Montenegro proved every bit as costly. Probably more. It forced Hodgson to limit him to half-an-hour of second-half action in the two pre-tournament friendlies and left the 26-year-old striker reduced to the role of spectator as his colleagues tried to sharpen their skills against France and Sweden.

Struggling: Rooney seemed out of condition in Ukraine

Struggling: Rooney seemed out of condition in Ukraine

The value of taking Rooney to Ukraine with them on both those occasions might be worth looking at, too. It enabled him to be part of England’s journey, to be there as that sense of spirit and unity grew.

But his time might have been better served working back here with a fitness coach, just as it would have made sense to ask Rooney to report for international duty with the majority of England’s players before the Norway game and not when Chelsea’s Champions League players joined up. It was just more time for him to lose condition.

In Krakow on Monday, Hodgson dismissed talk of Rooney’s fitness being an issue. This surprised most observers who saw how a purple-faced the 26-year-old forward appeared to be blowing after 25 minutes against Ukraine and Italy; who performed so far below his usual high standards. He looked heavy and sluggish.

Far from his peak: Rooney lacked his trademark burst of pace at Euro 2012

Far from his peak: Rooney lacked his trademark burst of pace at Euro 2012

On Monday Hodgson said there was nothing that had shown up in his fitness tests to cause concern. /06/27/article-0-13C4C601000005DC-270_634x337.jpg” width=”634″ height=”337″ alt=”Ground rules: Roy Hodgson must avoid a repeat in future” class=”blkBorder” />

Ground rules: Roy Hodgson must avoid a repeat in future

In 2006, Rooney was injured. In 2010 he was returning from injury and distracted by problems that were about to emerge in his private life. This time mistakes were clearly made prior to his first appearance at Euro 2012.

But this time they were mistakes that were so avoidable. Stupid, self-destructive mistakes. The red card and the trip to the home of red or black. They are mistakes Hodgson and Rooney must now learn from in an effort to deliver him to Brazil with half a chance of performing on the world stage, a decade after his last decent contribution at a major tournament.

He returned to the US on holiday, this time to Los Angeles with wife Coleen on Wednesday. In two years’ time he must avoid these trips until after the big event.

Stats: Rooney in tournaments

London 2012 Olympics: Alistair and Jon Brownlee dead-heat at Blenheim

Brotherly love as Brownlees dead-heat at Blenheim

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 10 June 2012

Alistair Brownlee dead-heated with brother Jon at triathlon's World Series event at Blenheim to complete a perfect comeback after three months rehabilitating from an achilles injury.

The two were named in Britain's Olympic team with domestique Stuart Hayes to assist them.

Will Clarke, last year's world No 9, who was left out, called the selection process 'a really bad system'.

Sibling revelry: Alistair Brownlee (left) and brother Jonathan

Sibling revelry: Alistair Brownlee (left) and brother Jonathan

London 2012 Olympics: Brownlee brothers in Games selection row

Not another one! Brownlees in new London selection row

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UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 9 June 2012

Britain's Olympic build-up was rocked on Saturday by its second selection row in a week.

Two ‘pacemaker’ athletes have been picked for the six-strong triathlon team at the London Games to help the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, to an anticipated gold and silver double.

The uproar over the selection of Stuart Hayes and Lucy Hall ahead of better and more experienced athletes follows the furore over taekwondo’s Aaron Cook, who has been overlooked for the British team despite being world No 1.

Controversy: The squad selection has caused a new row

Controversy: The squad selection has caused a new row

Four seasoned triathletes will appear for Team GB at London — world champion Alistair Brownlee, 24, and his world No 2 brother Jonny, 22, in the men’s race, and world champion Helen Jenkins and Vicky Holland in the women’s event.

But Hayes and Hall will fulfil the duties of pacemakers at the expense of better all-round triathletes Will Clarke, Tim Don, Liz Blatchford and Jodie Stimpson, who were all overlooked. The squad will operate on ‘team orders’ to help the Brownlees and Jenkins get medals.

‘It’s hard because two of those people have basically walked on to an Olympic team,’ said Clarke, 27, who is ranked No 12 in the world. Don, son of former Premier League referee Philip Don, is No 13 while Hayes is ranked No 46.

Clarke added: ‘There’s not any other sport like that, where someone qualifies so easily considering what others like us have been through. We’ve been racing at the top level around the world for years, gaining ranking points, and they’ve walked on to the Olympic team. But I’m still good friends with Stuey and wish him all the best.’

Brothers: Alistair Brownlee (left) and Jonathan Brownlee (right)

Brothers: Alistair Brownlee (left) and Jonathan Brownlee (right)

A report that triathletes, unhappy with the selection policy, had ‘heated words’ with selectors was vindicated when Clarke’s wife, Clare, pointed her followers on Twitter to it and said it was a ‘great summary’ of what had happened during the selection process.

Clarke, who received numerous messages of support at his surprise omission, tweeted: ‘Finally the Team GB Triathlon team has been announced. Gutted to not be part of it but good luck to the guys and bring back some medals.’

The Brownlee brothers finished together in first place at the Blenheim triathlon as Alistair made his comeback from injury. On form, they would be expected to win gold and silver in London, while Jenkins is favourite in the women’s event.

Not selected: Aaron Cook's omission caused a stir

Not selected: Aaron Cook's omission caused a stir

British Triathlon want to maximise their chances, however, hence the inclusion of Hall and Hayes, who are quick swimmers and cyclists and can pace their team-mates before fading.

Hall said: ‘They made it clear that, if I was going to take this place on the team, I would be going as someone to help [Jenkins]. Everyone can’t be happy with the decision. People are always going to be upset. That’s how it is, that’s sport.

‘It’s horrible to think some people don’t get to fulfil their Olympic dreams. I hope they understand why I’m taking this opportunity. It’s a home Olympics. I can’t turn it down.’

London 2012 Olympics: Triathlon trio join Brownlee brothers in Team GB squad

Triathlon trio join Brownlee brothers in push for London gold

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UPDATED:

11:12 GMT, 9 June 2012

Vicky Holland, Lucy Hall and Stuart Hayes will join Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownlee and Helen Jenkins in the Great Britain triathlon team at the London Olympics.

The latter trio booked their places last year after superb seasons, with Alistair Brownlee and Jenkins winning their second world titles and Jonny Brownlee establishing himself as world No 2.

Britain have never won an Olympic medal in triathlon but it would be a major surprise were they not to change that statistic this time.

Brothers in arms: Helen Jenkins is flanked by Jonathan and Alastair Browlee

Brothers in arms: Helen Jenkins is flanked by Jonathan and Alastair Browlee

Neil Wilson

Alistair Brownlee in particular has been utterly dominant over the last three years, winning 11 of the 15 World Triathlon Series races he has competed in, picking up two world titles as well as two European titles.

The 24-year-old was a clear winner over the Olympic course in Hyde Park last year, as was Jenkins, who has been a consistent medal winner and began her 2012 season with second place in Sydney and then a runaway victory in San Diego.

Alistair Brownlee will return to action at the Blenheim Triathlon on Saturday after missing the start of the season with an achilles injury, and in his absence his 22-year-old brother has taken on the mantle.

Jonny Brownlee won in San Diego and then crushed the opposition in Madrid two weeks ago for his first victories over the Olympic distance at elite senior level.

The selection of the rest of the team has been controversial, with British Triathlon making clear their stated intent to win a medal and leaving open the possibility of picking domestiques to help their team-mates rather than the best athletes individually.

The governing body are not saying in what capacity Holland, Hall and Hayes have been selected, but in the case of the latter two especially, it appears they will be there in a supporting role.

Holland has hit form at just the right time with top-seven finishes in San Diego and Madrid and may well race in her own right.

Hall, 20, has never finished higher than 37th in a World Series race over the Olympic distance but she is one of the fastest swimmers in the sport and may well be able to help Jenkins split the pack, giving her a better chance of victory.

Hayes, who will also be making his Olympic debut at the age of 33, won the World Series race in Kitzbuhel in 2010 but has not had any results of note since.

However, he is an experienced and highly respected team member and his prowess in the 40 kilometre bike leg is likely to have swayed the selectors.

If things go to plan, then the Brownlees will not need the extra help but Hayes will also be there should things go wrong, as they did at the European Championships last year when Alistair Brownlee picked up a puncture but still won after his team-mates worked with him to get back to the pack.

London 2012 Olympics: Lord Coe is on the final stages of the race of his life to deliver the Games

It's the race of his life and Coe is on the final bend as Olympics loom

By
Patrick Collins

PUBLISHED:

21:54 GMT, 14 April 2012

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UPDATED:

21:54 GMT, 14 April 2012

A foggy morning in east London and, from the 23rd floor, the Olympic Stadium is no more than a hint on the horizon.

Yet Sebastian Coe sits with his back to the office window, as if even a glimpse into the gloom might emphasise the urgency of his task.

This Wednesday, the Games of the XXX Olympiad will be 100 days away. Reality is nudging his ribs. 'Time's gone so quickly. Flown by,' he says.

'You can sense the excitement by the little things that happen. The other day, in central London, I met a woman who was a volunteer, a bloke who was going to carry the torch and a girl who told me she was dancing in the opening ceremony. All inside 15 minutes on Oxford Street! It's happening out there. And not just at home.

Flying the flag: Lord Coe is relishing delivering the games to London

Flying the flag: Lord Coe is relishing delivering the games to London

'I don't believe I've ever witnessed so much international excitement about an Olympics. You feel it when you walk into the international training centre in Tokyo and you meet their gymnasts or their triathlon team and they just can't stop talking about London.

'They can't wait to get here. And that's typical. Dar-es- Salaam to Marrakesh, from Beijing to Los Angeles, there's people just longing to get to London.

'Everyone's always excited about going to an Olympic Games but there's something different this time, because it's London.'

The unprecedented speed at which tickets were sold effectively settled the debate about the nation's readiness to embrace the Olympics.

As Coe says: 'You don't tell the British people they're going to have a wonderful time, they'll figure it out themselves.

In a previous life: Seb Coe in his days as a top athlete

In a previous life: Seb Coe in his days as a top athlete

'I never thought we'd have a problem selling tickets because I think that sport actually matters to our public.'

There is something of the zealot about Coe as he pursues his theory: 'I've done countless miles, travelling this country. Seeing extraordinary people doing things they didn't know they had it in themselves to do.

'In Truro the other day one of our community leaders, a young girl, said to me, “I was doing nothing three years ago. Now I've got 20 kids in a playground coming to see me three nights a week”.

'It's amazing. We've got millions of kids involved in all sorts of things and 24,000 schools in our Get Set programme.'

His eight years as chairman of the organising committee have not been uniformly smooth, and the disruption of the Boat Race prompted inevitable Olympic speculation.

Coe calls last weekend's protest 'a monstrous piece of self-indulgence.'

Delivered: The Olympic Stadium was opened on time

Delivered: The Olympic Stadium was opened on time

But he pleads for perspective, and delivers a response culled from his previous life as a party politician: 'We have a long history of peaceful demonstrations, as long as they don't put athletes or spectators at risk.'

The success or otherwise of the London Games will be determined by the collective ability of the Organising Committee. Coe is confident in his team.

'They're the reason I don't get sleepless nights,' he says. 'Remarkable people. I was working here at about 10 the other night and a third of the staff were still here.

'The nearest I've seen to that kind of focus was many years ago; that little group who worked with me to get round two or four laps faster than the next guy. It reminds me a lot of those morning sessions I had with my Dad, when we'd be sitting there and saying, “OK let's look at what you did last night, let's modify this or change that”.

'For me, it's very similar. You are thinking minute by minute, the decisions are coming thick and fast.'

Park of dreams: The Olympic Stadium is the centre point of the Olympic Park

Park of dreams: The Olympic Stadium is the centre point of the Olympic Park

The larger questions are still looming; the nature of regeneration, the scope of the sporting legacy, the mark that the festival will leave on the country at large. But the hopes and fears of the nation revolve around the man who delivered the Games. Coe attempts to make light of the burden.

'I'm doing something I thoroughly enjoy and I instinctively understand,' he says. But when he thinks of the Raffles Convention Centre in Singapore, on the evening of July 6, 2005, when the IOC president opened an envelope to announce the triumphant city, does he never secretly wish that Jacques Rogge had said the word: 'Paris'

Coe is faintly shocked at the notion. 'No, no, no! Never!' he says. 'By the day, by the hour, I'm more convinced that it will be fantastic.

'Anyway, I've always felt that what we've had to deal with, even on the difficult days, has been trivial compared to what this could mean for generations to come.'

Come Wednesday, the days will dwindle to a precious few, and Coe's optimism will be tested as never before.

The Games of London will depend on the talents of the man and his team. We should wish them well.