Christie Blasts Olympic Decision

Posted on: 23 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Linford Christie tells BBC Radio 4 he should have been asked to carry Olympic flame

In an exclusive BBC Radio 4 interview, Linford Christie says it was his "right" to carry the Olympic flame through the streets of London.

In an interview broadcasted at 1.30pm on Sunday, 22nd June, Linford Christie says he should have been invited to be an Olympic torch bearer claiming he deserved the honour as he has been a "stalwart" of athletics and put British sprinting on the map.

He also tells Radio 4's On The Ropes programme that he has achieved more than any other athlete or sportsman in Britain and reveals a bitterness towards Lord Coe saying he "cannot stand" his former friend.

Asked by presenter John Humphrys about his desire to be an Olympic torch bearer in London earlier this year, Christie replies: "It's not that I wanted, I think there are a lot of people who haven't achieved their want."

"I think it should be my right as a stalwart of our sport, I've done my country proud.  For me, I look at track and field and what I did in the sport; it's like going to war."

"I went out there and I battled against other countries and put British sprinting on the map and so therefore I don't think it's something I should want to do, I think it's something I should be asked to do," he says.

Christie also reveals his feelings towards Sebastian Coe.

"Seb and I were good friends and I've known Seb for a long time and if he felt that he had a problem with me, as you do if you are friends, you come and say it, you come and say it to me as man to man."

"So therefore, for him to go in a newspaper and say something, then he had an agenda, and that's what I think it is, and again what did he achieve for athletics? I'm still bitter about him, I cannot stand the guy and, to be honest, I wish we didn't even talk about it because I have nothing good to say about Sebastian Coe at all, absolutely nothing."

When Humphrys suggests that Christie's life could have turned out differently and he might have become Sir Linford Christie, he asks; "You believe that? How many black knights from British athletics do you know?"

“I think there's institutionalised racism in this country. Where it shows its head? I don't know,” Christie adds.

"Everyone says ok for me if I sing my own song and blow my own trumpet, I've achieved more single-handedly, I'd say, than any other athlete or any other sportsman in this country."

In the revealing interview Linford Christie talks about moving to Britain from Jamaica aged seven, how he was introduced to athletics and his career highs and lows.

He is the only British man to take gold in Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European 100m.

Christie was banned for life from Olympic events after testing positive for the banned steroid nandrolone at a meeting where he ran, years after officially retiring from competitions.

He was cleared by the UK authorities and strenuously denies ever taking performance enhancing drugs but the international body refused to overturn the ban.

He now owns a management company and mentors and coaches young athletes.

Christie says he would not change a thing about his life saying he has enjoyed his athletic career and has made more friends than enemies, and feels loved by people all over the world.

You can listen to the broadcast using Radio4's Listen Again funtion: simply click here.

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