Seb Coe, speaking about European distance running in the Irish Times:
"Of course the sport has moved on from my time. But nothing is permanent. I don't for one minute accept that it is an impossibility, either physiologically or psychologically, for a British or an even Irish athlete to be winning gold in 2012, or beyond. What we accept is that the African continent has had a profound effect on distance running, particularly in the strength of depth. But when I was breaking world records I was still having to beat people like Mike Boit. Steve Ovett was taking on the best, Eamonn Coghlan too, and Steve Cram.
"So what I do not accept is that it's impossible for a European athlete, nor should anybody get into that mindset, to go toe-to-toe with a Gebrselassie or a Bekele. But if I'm being honest about it, I don't think our coaching in endurance events has moved on as much as it could have. And I don't accept that we can't produce a 3:30 1,500-metre runner anymore. Because the blood line just doesn't suddenly dry up."
"So we have to look at many things, like motivation. Track and field is not an easy sport, but it is easy to sit there and say we should be getting medals here or there.
"I recognise too there are countries that did not exist when I was competing. And it is the toughest sport in the world to get a medal. It is of a different order than most other sports."
The American and British and European blood lines have not dried up. We may lack the depth of the Africans, but there are individuals who can be just as competitive at the world level. Our challenge will be to identify them, incentivize them, support them and develop them. And when they get close, not heap unrealistic expectations upon them.