Mile News

Epic Olympic 1500: How Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett stunned the world—twice in 6 days

August 18, 2016

"The whole stadium was upstanding, arms outstretched, to join him in his ecstasy. They had witnessed a classic chase and race."

By Douglas Perry, The Oregonian

Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt proved once again this week that the 100 meter sprint is the highest-profile track event in the world. But that hasn't always been the case. In the late 1970s and early '80s, the Mile was unquestionably track's glory discipline.

That's because Great Britain's Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett were at their peaks, riveting sports fans across the globe. The striking thing about their rivalry is that they traded the world Mile record back and forth in 1979 and '80 without facing each other on the track. So the anticipation bubbled over when they arrived at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which were being boycotted by much of the West.

Like all great rivals, they were a study in contrasts. The blue-collar Ovett, moody and introverted, hated talking to the press and avoided it. The university-educated Coe had the easy charm of a natural politician, which he would later become.

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Tags: steve ovett (24) , sebastian coe (45) , olympics (72) , moscow olympics (5)

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