Seb Coe, November 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net
The recent article by Alan Abrahamson, of 3WireSports, Sebastian Coe is the answer, not the problem, http://www.3wiresports.com/2016/01/14/sebastian-coe-is-the-answer-not-the-problem/, was right on the mark. Read it, then, read it again. Alan hits the nail on the head. Seb Coe must be given the time to rebuild the IAAF and provide the world with an organization that shows a robust focus on cleaning up the sport and being above the current extortionist culture that the Diack family developed within the IAAF. In truth, Lamine Diack had two IAAF's: the old dodering one that we saw at events, the lying, cheating IAAF that Diack and his family pocketed millions in their money for protection and vote programs.
Dick Pound issued his 89 page second part of his Independent Commission Report for WADA on January 14, 2016. The report made it quite clear that Lamine Diack, the President of the IAAF for sixteen years, his two sons, his personal lawyer, the IAAF treasurur and the head of IAAF anti-doping, were the small group that managed the illicit extortion business that we now know was championed by Mr. Pappa Diack, son of the former IAAF president.
I was on the phone call for both the first and second half of the WADA press conferences. I must say, nothing really surprised me in the second part, except Dick Pound's active support of Sebastian Coe.
After kicking the IAAF's butt in part one, all 323 pages, and in the newest 89 pages (this thing is the size of a short Russian nihilist novel from the end of the 19th century, just not as enthralling) is no differnt. Identifying Mr. Diack and his crew might make the critical thinker surmise that as in any act of lying or cheating, keeping the circle of those in the know as small as possible insures success.
The battle between Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka was watched closely by many of the athletics media. I remember speaking with several of my Italian media friends in May 2015. Franco Fava, the noted writer and athlete, and I believed that the election would be quite close: we figured no more than 20 votes would separate the fields.
Coe, in fact, two summers before was still being encouraged by many of his British colleagues to actually run for the IAAF president. When the winds of stench started, one well known former British athletic star told me, " I wonder if Seb regrets running now."
Seb Coe is the right person for the job for many reasons. And I understand the concern of many, including American writer Phil Hersh, who noted that Mr. Coe should go. It is quite difficult, in such situations, to not be cynical in front of all that we have seen.
For Mr. Coe to be successful, he will need the skill of a brain surgeon. He needs to excise much of the current governing protocals within the IAAF to be successful, but he needs surgical precision. There needs to be checks and balances within the IAAF for everything from nepotist to protocals for consultants and their abilities to negotiate on behalf of the IAAF.
The need to bring the anti doping programs of Jamaica, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Belarus, Turkey, and Russia up to standards is crucial. This requires not only IAAF and WADA, but also the IOC.
Seb Coe will need all of his charm, political savvy, energy and enthusiasm to rebuild the IAAF. And rebuild is what he will be doing.
Let us hope that he is successful. For someone so driven in his athletic career, the skill set he will have to call on to be successful leading the IAAF for the next dozen years is there, but Coe will have to embrace a new approach.
That will be more challenging that any of his races.
Seb Coe is running the real race of his life.