London 2012 CEO Sebastian Coe to talk 'Olympics' on CNN

MUMBAI: With the 2008 Olympics now well underway, the head of London 2012 is in Beijing to find out first hand what it takes to host the Games. Former Olympics champion Sebastian Coe joins Anjali Rao on this weekend's Talk Asia to discuss Beijing's experience as a host city, how China has handled controversial issues, and the blueprint for the London Olympics. The special airs on 16 August at 8:30 pm and on 17 August at 6:30 pm.

Since being awarded the Olympics, Beijing has faced its share of criticism and controversy over human rights and political issues. Lord Coe believes international sports have enormous impact: "It's a powerful vehicle for bringing communities together in a way that sometimes politicians don't manage to do." He adds however that it should not replace political dialogue: "We must never forget the power and the impact that international sport has had often in transformation, in helping with the process of change?but it is not the first line of foreign policy."

The former British politician does not shy away from criticism of London hosting the next Olympics. "You are never going to win the hearts and minds of everybody. Our regular polling shows that well over 70 percent of people in the UK are solidly behind this project," he says. Indeed, he believes that hosting the Olympics in one's own backyard can "inspire young people to do things that perhaps they hadn't thought about."

The sporting legend is looking forward to the August 24 closing ceremony when London will be handed the Olympic mantle. This moment is of extra significance to Coe as this is the opportunity for London to showcase to the world what the city will expect to deliver in 2012: "We will have a very global moment in Beijing and that is the eight minutes that London will have in the closing ceremony."

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