Sebastian Coe announces intentions to seek IAAF presidency

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 19:  Reliving the Olympic spirit: Sebastian Coe addresses the crowd at the curtain-raiser to Join In Summer 2013 - Go Local, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park  on July 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Go Local)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 19: Reliving the Olympic spirit: Sebastian Coe addresses the crowd at the curtain-raiser to Join In Summer 2013 – Go Local, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Go Local)

Sebastian Coe confirmed suspicions he intends to stand for the presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the top spot in track and field’s governing body.

Coe has been surrounded by athletics his entire life and has has governing credentials, making him a strong candidate for the position. He won four Olympic medals during his track and field career, including golds in the 1,500m at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. The Briton has been a vice-president in the organization since 2007 and has become a household name in London and the U.K. He was a member of parliament there during the mid-1990s and headed the bid and organizing committees for the 2012 London Olympics in the city.

The current president, Lamine Diack, has held the job since 1999. Coe’s main competition for the job is Ukrainian Sergey Bubka, another vice-president in the organization and 1988 Olympic pole vault champion. Bubka broke the men’s world record in that event 35 times, though he has yet to formally announce his interest in standing for the job.

Whoever takes over the position in 2015 will become president during a time when one of the issues facing the organization is what many believe to be rampant doping problems in the sport, something Coe has recently spoken out against. He voiced concerns over the inclusion of American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who served a four-year doping ban, on the list of IAAF Athlete of the Year candidates. A recent positive test by the world’s top female marathon runner, Rita Jeptoo, also made a splash.

“Restoring confidence should be a pillar of our federation,” Coe told the Associated Press. “Confidence is not negotiable. We spend hundreds of thousands of euros in testing, but if we lose this battle, the sports will not survive.”

The announcement puts to rest other talk that Coe may have been considering running for mayor in London. Local media have reported in recent months that other politicians in the city had been pressuring the 58-year-old to run for the job.