Coe: We can't afford to get complacent

London's Olympic Games supremo Sebastian Coe appealed for public support to help stage 'the greatest show on earth' during a whistle-stop tour of the region.

London's Olympic Games supremo Sebastian Coe appealed for public support to help stage 'the greatest show on earth' during a whistle-stop tour of the region.

The chief architect behind last year's winning bid for the 2012 Games was aboard an Olympic roadshow bus touring sites in the east for the canoeing and mountain bike events before meeting business leaders in Ely.

The 52-stop nationwide tour finishes in Liverpool on July 27 - six years to the day before the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London.

"We want to get the message out - this is a Games for Britain not simply London," said the double Olympic gold medallist. "Its important that communities understand the potential and the positive impact this event could have - I want to see the legacy go on for the next 50 years.

"I feel very hopeful we can stage a wonderful Olympic Games. Britain will bring a passion and a love of sport that should inspire young people everywhere in the same way I was enthused by watching the Games."

Lord Coe is confident Norfolk can play its part from world class sporting facilities at Norwich UEA to meeting some of the expected 70,000 demand for volunteers.

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"We had tremendous support from this area during the bid process," said Lord Coe. "Norfolk's proximity is an obvious advantage and it would be great to think people want to get involved. I'm hopeful tickets for the actual Olympic and Paralympic events will be reasonably priced as well to encourage people to watch - alongside free events like the marathon."

The London organising committee chair also revealed his team is ahead of schedule in the mammoth task of planning Britain's first Olympics since 1948 - including the inevitable security implications arising from the London bombings within 24 hours of last July's announcement.

"On balance the IOC believes we are a year to a year and a half in front of other host cities at this stage," said Lord Coe. "We cannot afford to get complacent though - it's not like moving the FA Cup final from Cardiff. Every day of the next six years is so vital.

"Security is an issue for every major city in the world. We will continue to liase with the authorities and I know we have a lot of good people working on those issues."

Lord Coe set 12 world records in a glittering track career and the middle distance king applauds the ambitious London medal targets set by UK Sport and the British Olympic Association.

"They are raising the bar and I for one fully support that," he said. "To finish fourth on the medals table is a very ambitious target but there was no point in going through this process without aiming high.

"Yes, we want to encourage more people to take up sport and what better way than to have British athletes on the rostrum.

"If you are aiming at somewhere between 30 and 50 medals then you need a much bigger team and that must be a good thing."

Lord Coe's successful leadership of the London bid team and his pivotal final address to the IOC delegates in Singapore last year brought him widespread personal acclaim.

"When the IOC President read out the name 'London' it was just huge relief - that was my first emotion," he said. "The team had put in such a tremendous effort it would have been difficult to take. In reality the hard work only started from that point.

"Personally, I'd like to think what I achieved in my athletic career attracted a few people into the sport who might not otherwise have been interested. To be part of a team that helped deliver the Olympics and the huge potential that brings to influence so many young people is on a totally different scale."

For information on the London 2012 Games visit the official web site