Olympic athletics champion Sebastian Coe will reveal how a jazz obsession inspired him to victory on the track in a Radio 2 show.
Lord Coe tells how he listened to the American saxophonist Sidney Bechet minutes before his famous 1,500 metres victory at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Competing behind the Iron Curtain on regular occasions, Coe would use those visits to seek out experimental works unavailable in the West.
The i newsletter latest news and analysis
He would even choose which international meets he raced at by the stadium’s proximity to a good jazz club.
The president of World Athletics also reveals that he was in a Chicago club until the early hours of the morning before heading to Los Angeles for the start of the 1984 Olympic Games where he would defend his title.
The middle-distance world record holder tells how jazz provided the motivational soundtrack to his career in the programme, A Day Without Jazz Is Like A Day Without Running.
Coe said: “Jazz music has been one of the great loves of my life for as long as I can remember, and I’m really delighted at this chance to share that passion with the Radio 2 audience.”
“When I walked out to the start of the 1500 metres in Moscow, I had Sidney Bechet still playing in my head. The only problem will be choosing a dozen or so tracks from the thousands in my collection.”
The jazz obsession began as a schoolboy, when he would borrow jazz records from Sheffield Public Library. Aged 14 he set off solo to the North Sea Jazz festival to see some of the artists he worshipped.
After his running career, Coe said he prepared for the crucial presentation in Singapore which won the 2012 Olympics for London, by lying on his hotel bed listening to pianist Jimmy Rowles.
The programme will air in Spring during a Radio 2 music season which will include “super-fan” Claudia Winkleman meeting her idols, Duran Duran, in a two-part special marking the band’s 40th anniversary.