Coe puts London 2012 in the ‘Killing Zone’

LONDON, (Reuters) – For Sebastian Coe, London 2012  has entered the ‘Killing Zone’,  a crucial stretch that will  determine whether the Games meet the Olympic gold standard in  one year’s time or fall back among the also-rans.

Sebastian Coe

Speaking in purely athletic terms, lest anyone be shocked by  the expression, the chairman of Games organisers LOCOG said yesterday that the next 12 months were of critical importance.

“In terms of an 800 (metre race)…I think this is between  500 and 600 metres, the second lap and in 800 metre running  that’s known as the ‘Killing Zone’,” the double 1,500 metre  Olympic gold medallist told a Reuters ‘Newsmaker’ event.

“And it’s how you come out of that 100 metres that often  determines the order that you finish in.”

London marks the year to go point on Wednesday, the  Games  opening on July 27 next year with the showcase ceremony in the  80,000 seat Olympic Stadium.

Ever the athlete, and Coe is one of the all-time greats as  the only man to have won 1,500 golds at successive Games, in  1980 and 1984, the Briton was prepared for all eventualities but   confident London would rise to the challenge.


He said there was nothing that really kept him awake at  night, was confident London had the best people an organising  committee has ever assembled.

“I guess what I would say at this moment is that what we  have within our control is under control,” he said, before being  joined by Sports and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson.

“But I am not that cavalier that I don’t recognise there are  things that will come at us in the last year that you don’t  always foresee.”

Transport and security are two of the key issues but the  immediate focus is on the ‘London Prepares’ test events that  will take place across the capital in the coming months.

Some have already happened, others are in the final stages  of preparation but all are vital to ironing out any problems.

“Testing is such a crucial part of the process. Nobody  wants to go to an Olympic final and risk being thrown something  you haven’t confronted with 200 times before on the training  track,” said Coe.

“The challenges going forward are making sure we learn as  much as we possibly can from the testing…that our teams are  all pointing in the right direction and all focusing absolutely  on the things that need focusing on and over the coming year we  know what those are.”

As an athlete, Coe was famed for his smooth acceleration and  late bursts from behind. There is no question of London being  off the pace either.

All but one of the Olympic Park venues have been completed  and handed over with more than a year to go and there is talk of  the Games coming in under an albeit repeatedly expanded budget.
“I broke 11 world records and five of them were running from  the front. I think it’s a pretty reasonable tactic. But you have  to be adaptable,” said Coe.
Transport will be one of the big pieces of the project that  have to be got right.

“You can’t by conscience bring them (the athletes) to a city  where transport unravels within 10 minutes of the opening  ceremony, or bring them to venues that don’t work or a village  that isn’t creating that ambience or environment that they need  to compete at the highest level,” he said.

For those who complained about the ‘Olympic Lanes’ and  transport making it harder to get around town next year, Coe had  a simple answer.

“This is not going to be business as usual,” he said. “It is  going to be business unusual.”

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