News28 Mar 2024

Coe talks vision and innovation on the Inside Track podcast


Sebastian Coe on the Inside Track podcast

In the second episode of a new series on the World Athletics Inside Track Podcast, released today (28 March), World Athletics President Sebastian Coe opens up on innovation, records, the sport’s profile and Paris in conversation with Sanya Richards-Ross and Richard Kilty.

From his vision for World Athletics to his advice for athletes and organisers in the build-up to the Olympic Games, Coe shares insight into the past and future of the sport.



On his vision for World Athletics

"I don’t think our challenge is any different from any of the other sports. The holy grail in any sport is: how do you get young people involved, how do you remain exciting and salient, and how do we get into their landscape? All these things are what we are figuring out. We have an innovation unit at World Athletics, it is run by our former director of competition, Jakob Larsen, who thinks out of the box. We need to make changes, not for the sake of it. But there are lots of things that we have settled for in the last 150 years and we’ve got to change."

On the range of talent in athletics and raising the profile of the sport

"I am more confident and optimistic about the range of talent that we have now got (in athletics). You’ve got the most extraordinary athletes across all our disciplines. I don’t think we’ve ever had so much strength in depth.

"We’ve got the Netflix documentary that is going to be run in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games, we’re looking to extend that involvement. There have been quite a lot of very good documentaries and films about people, past and present, in the sport. There’s a lot we can do to help raise the profile. I do respectfully say to athletes ... your passport is your performance. If you run fast, you jump high, you are going to get into that landscape. But really to make an impact, you’ve got to go beyond the track – you’ve got to spend time and you’ve got to be prepared to share time. Sometimes it’s really painful to have to think about things other than training. But it is helping grow the pie."

On his advice for athletes and organisers in the build-up to the Paris Olympics

"To the athletes, it has always been a consistent message and I recognise it from my own career – athletes tend to do things in an Olympic year they wouldn’t normally do in another year, and I just say don’t play around with the variables. If you’ve got a training environment that’s good, if you’ve got a coaching structure that works, don’t suddenly be tempted – because it’s an Olympic year – to go off and do something that you’ve never done before. Keep grounded and stay in the environment that you are comfortable in and you’ve got your support networks, your friends, your family. Don’t try and do things that are alien just because it’s an Olympic year.

"And to the organisers, it’s really simple: if you deliver a Games through the eyes of the athlete, it will be a good Games. Eighty percent of the project management you will get right if you have the lens of an athlete. If you do everything with a focus on the athletes, then you can’t fail to make it a good event."

This conversation with Coe follows the launch of the Inside Track Podcast at the World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24. The latest series again features Olympic and world 400m gold medallist Richards-Ross and 2014 world indoor and two-time European indoor 60m champion Kilty asking the questions, as they catch up with a host of track and field’s biggest names and much-loved personalities. In the first episode of the series, the conversation went deep with one of the world's fastest men, Noah Lyles.

Episodes are available via all the usual podcast platforms – including on Apple PodcastsSpotify and the Sport Social Podcast Network – while fans can also watch the show on the World Athletics website.

With an evolving presenter line-up for each event, the podcast will be in attendance when the World Athletics Relays returns to The Bahamas in May. Later in the year, an all-star cast will provide reaction to the events at the Olympic Games in Paris.

Find it all on Inside Track.

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