World Athletics president Sebastian Coe, who helped mastermind the London 2012 Olympic Games, has paid tribute to HRH Queen Elizabeth II following her death at the age of 96.

The monarch passed away at her home in Balmoral on Thursday, ending a seven-decade reign as the longest-serving sovereign in UK history.

Coe, who was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour for his work on London 2012, worked with the Queen throughout the event, and has now issued a lengthy tribute to her legacy.

"The Queen was such a beloved constant in the lives of so many people over so many years that it is hard to comprehend that she is no longer with us," he stated.

"She was on the throne before most of us were born and she lived a life of extraordinary service to the people of her country and the Commonwealth.

"In the most demanding of roles, she has shown exceptional leadership, grace, wisdom and fortitude, touching us across the full fabric of society, including sport.

"I will never forget her total commitment to the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. She has been a source of continuity and comfort, and she will be grievously missed by us all.

"We will never see her like again. At this momentous time, my thoughts are with her family. I hope they are comforted by the support of a grateful nation, and of so many people around the world."

The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin also offered her condolences, adding: "It is with profound sorrow that we learn of the passing of our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen. 

"Throughout her long life and reign, her extraordinary dedication and service to the Commonwealth has been an inspiration to so many, including all our Commonwealth Games athletes and officials. 

"Her Majesty's vision for the Commonwealth as a diverse and united family of nations will continue to inspire us – and will remain our mission and duty for the benefit of all athletes and communities, through the power of sport.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with His Majesty The King, The Queen Consort and all members of the Royal Family as we join with citizens across the Commonwealth in mourning her loss at this very sad time."

Over seven decades on the throne, the Queen oversaw a number of major events – not least in the sporting world.

Sport was a significant feature of Her Majesty's 70-year reign, from attending events to handing over trophies, most famously in 1966 when England lifted the World Cup at Wembley.

Following the announcement of her passing on Thursday, Stats Perform looks at the major sporting events that coincided with prominent milestones throughout the Queen's reign.


The Queen's Coronation, 1953

Princess Elizabeth was officially crowned Queen on June 2, 1953, a year after the death of her father George VI. Aged just 25, her ascension to the throne took place amid a glittering ceremony at Westminster Abbey. In the sporting world, Alberto Ascari won the Formula One championship for a second successive year shortly after the historic moment. He remains one of only two Ferrari drivers to have won multiple titles, along with the great Michael Schumacher, while no Italian has triumphed since. This was also the year Ken Rosewall, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, won the first of his eight grand slam titles with victory at the Australian Open, aged just 18. Incredibly, the last of those major triumphs arrived 21 years after his maiden success at Wimbledon in 1974.

The Silver Jubilee, 1977

The Queen's Silver Jubilee marked the 25th anniversary of her accession and was celebrated by millions throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Known for her love of horse racing, Her Majesty would no doubt have had a watching eye on that year's Grand National, won that year for an unprecedented third time by Red Rum – a record that stands to this day. A week on from that event, Tom Watson edged out Jack Nicklaus in a thrilling conclusion to the Masters, and he did likewise later in the year when coming out on top at The Open.

The Golden Jubilee, 2002

The Queen's 50-year anniversary on the throne coincided with a bumper year of sport, the highlight being the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan – the first time the football showpiece had been held outside of the Americas or Europe – which was won by Brazil for a fifth time. While the World Cup, Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games garnered plenty of attention, that year's must-see one-off event was Lennox Lewis' heavyweight bout with Mike Tyson in Tennessee, with the Briton winning by knockout in the eighth round.

The Diamond Jubilee, 2012

The London Olympics was the biggest sporting event on home soil during the Queen's lifetime – bigger even than England's famous World Cup triumph of 1966 – and coincided with her Diamond Jubilee. The Games were a massive success, particularly for Great Britain, and proved one of many highlights in a remarkable sporting year. Europe produced one of the Ryder Cup's greatest ever comebacks in what is now known as 'The Miracle at Medinah', while Spain thrashed Italy 4-0 to win Euro 2012. Perhaps bigger than all that, though, was the news that Lance Armstrong had been banned from cycling for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being found to have used performance-enhancing drugs over the course of his career.

The Sapphire Jubilee, 2017

Sixty-five years is a long time, with this Jubilee making the Queen the first British monarch to hit the Sapphire milestone. Sergio Garcia's wait for a first major would have felt just as long, the Spaniard claiming victory in a sudden-death play-off with Justin Rose at the Masters in what was his 74th major. The conclusion to that tournament provided drama aplenty, yet it was nothing compared to that year's Super Bowl as the New England Patriots recovered from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in the largest comeback in the showpiece's history. It also remains the only Super Bowl to be decided in overtime.

The Queen held a lifelong passion for horse racing, and that will be her great legacy in sports, but she was also present for a number of great sporting moments during her reign.

It was the Queen, the UK's longest-serving monarch who has died at the age of 96 at Balmoral on Thursday, who famously handed over the Jules Rimet Trophy to Bobby Moore after England's World Cup final triumph against West Germany at Wembley on July 30 1966.

She also made an appearance on Wimbledon's Centre Court in 1977, handing over the Venus Rosewater Dish to Virginia Wade, Britain's home women's singles champion in the monarch's silver jubilee year.

More recently, she presented racing's Derby trophy to winning jockey Pat Smullen in 2016 after his successful ride on Harzand.

Crowning glories at the racecourse

The then Princess Elizabeth was said to have first been on horseback at the age of three, before receiving her own pony, Peggy, as a four-year-old. Later, she became an enthusiastic and accomplished rider, and this passed through the generations.

Her daughter, Princess Anne, and granddaughter, Zara Phillips, were both voted winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for their achievements. Anne was an individual European eventing champion in 1971, while Zara won individual gold at the 2006 World Equestrian Games and a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Queen inherited a stock of horses from her father, King George VI, upon his death in 1952, and became passionate about the breeding of thoroughbred racehorses, some of which went on to compete in and win major races.

One of those, Aureole, finished second in the Derby at Epson in 1953, the Queen's coronation year.

She was patron of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association from 1954 until her death, with her own thoroughbreds based at Sandringham's Royal Stud.

There were Classics winners that emerged from the ranks of the horses she has bred with Pall Mall winning the 2,000 Guineas in 1958, Highclere landing the 1,000 Guineas and Prix de Diane in 1974, and Dunfermline prevailing in the Oaks and St Leger in 1977, the Queen's silver jubilee year.

Carrozza, leased by the national stud to the monarch, won The Oaks at Epsom in 1957, with Lester Piggott on board.

"She adores breeding racehorses," her racing manager John Warren told CNN in 2014. "The British bloodstock industry is very lucky to have a patron such as the queen."

In a 1974 BBC documentary, The Queen’s Racehorses: A Personal View, the Queen said: "My philosophy about racing is simple. I enjoy breeding a horse that is faster than other people's. And to me, that is a gamble from a long way back. I enjoy going racing but I suppose, basically, I love horses, and the thoroughbred epitomises a really good horse to me."

In 2013, she became the first reigning monarch to own the Ascot Gold Cup winner when favourite Estimate, trained by Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, took the honours.

Moore later said: "It doesn't happen very often, but we got to parade Estimate down past the crowd, past the stands, and the Queen's box is very central above the winning line. I remember being able to look up and tilt my hat to her and sort of say, 'Thank you', and you could see how excited she was."

Away from the track

There was no sport to rival racing in the Queen's affections, yet she was famously present for those historic wins by the England football team in 1966 and by Wade in a year of flag-waving pageantry.

Her presence added to the gravitas of those victories, indelible moments in which millions were already heavily invested.

The Queen would often send messages of congratulations or support to sporting figures at pivotal moments.

Recently, she told the England women's football team – the Lionesses – their home triumph at Euro 2022 would serve as "an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations".

In a message to England's men's European Championship finalists in July 2021, she told Gareth Southgate's team: "Fifty-five years ago I was fortunate to present the World Cup to Bobby Moore and saw what it meant to the players, management and support staff to reach and win the final of a major international football tournament."

The Queen's Wimbledon visit in 1977 did not give her the tennis bug, and she returned only once, in 2010, walking the grounds of the All England Club before settling down on Centre Court to watch Andy Murray beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

She met a host of tennis greats on that visit, including Roger Federer who described it as "a big honour".

Federer said: "After 33 years there is huge happiness that she should visit this year for the fans. I'm just so glad I got a chance to meet her."

In 2013, she sent Murray a private message when the Scot became Britain's first men's singles champion at Wimbledon for 77 years, while she also praised successes of teams including England's 2019 Cricket World Cup winners, and New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup conquerors. She also held a reception for the England team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

London's triumph, and a passion undimmed

The London Olympics was the biggest sporting event on home soil during her lifetime, and the Queen gamely took part in a James Bond comedy sketch alongside 007 actor Daniel Craig that was shown at the opening ceremony, pretending to show her jump from a helicopter and parachute into the Olympic Stadium.

She gave the speech that declared the Games open, and later saluted the efforts of those who made the 17 days of competition such a roaring success, declaring: "I offer my congratulations to the athletes of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, whose efforts across the range of Olympic disciplines have truly captured the public's imagination and earned their admiration."

Her granddaughter's medal success would have been one of the sweeter personal moments for the head of the Royal Family.

In her final years, the Queen's passion for equestrian sport remained undiminished, and one of her final public appearances came at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 2022.

It was there that her five-year-old grey dun mare Balmoral Leia won the Highland Class 64 event and was also awarded the overall mountain and moorland honour, a timely triumph in her owner's platinum jubilee year.

Sir Bradley Wiggins has claimed he was groomed by a former cycling coach as a child.

The 41-year-old, who became the first and so far only rider to win the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in the same year in 2012, made the claims in an interview with Men's Health UK.

Wiggins, who won a total of eight Olympic medals (five gold, one silver, and two bronze) during a glittering career, said he had buried the abuse during his youth due to a strained relationship with his stepfather, but did not name the alleged offender.

"I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that... It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it," Wiggins said.

"My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f***** for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn't think I could tell him. I was such a loner... I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular. I was quite a strange teenager in many ways, and I think the drive on the bike stemmed from adversity."

Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France with his 2012 triumph, also opened up on his battles with mental health issues, describing the most successful period of his cycling career as the "unhappiest period" of his life.

"In 2012, after winning the Tour de France, then winning at the Olympics, life was never the same again," he added.

"I was thrust into this fame and adulation that came with the success... I'm an introverted, private person. I didn't know who 'me' was, so I adopted a kind of veil – a sort of rock star veil.

"It wasn't really me... It was probably the unhappiest period of my life. Everything I did was about winning for other people, and the pressures that came with being the first British winner of the Tour. I really struggled with it."

Wiggins ended his cycling career in 2016, having won Olympic medals in four consecutive games between 2004 and 2016: in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.

British Cycling has offered support to Wiggins after the claims became public.

Greg Rutherford is dreaming of becoming the first athlete in almost 100 years to win gold at both the Summer and Winter Games after being named in Great Britain's bobsleigh squad ahead of Beijing 2022.

The 34-year-old won gold for Britain in the long jump event on home soil at London 2012 and followed that up with a bronze in Rio four years later.

Rutherford announced his retirement from athletics in July 2018 and started training in the bobsleigh five months ago.

He has now confirmed that he made the cut for GB's five-man squad that will now attempt to qualify for the upcoming Winter Games, which takes place in February 2022.

"A massive milestone has been hit in my bobsleigh journey," Rutherford posted on Instagram. "A few weeks ago we had our trials and I managed to qualify for the British team to compete this winter!

"The team now has to qualify for the Olympic Games by placing well on the World Cup circuit (as does every team).

"This has been a huge undertaking, going from a very retired former athlete, to retraining in a new sport and qualifying for the team. A massive thank you to everyone who's helped thus far.

"We start competing in a couple of months' time with the medal dream very much alive."

Only six British athletes have ever contested at both the Summer and Winter Games, most recently former sprinter and bobsledder Allyn Condon in 2000. None of them have won medals at either event.

Rutherford told the Guardian: "There were a few doubters when I said I wanted to make the Winter Olympics in April, but I always back and believe in myself, and I am absolutely delighted to have been selected.

"I am extremely confident we can qualify for Beijing and go on to achieve something very special."

There have been just six previous examples of athletes from any country winning medals at both the Summer and Winter Games.

Eddie Eagan (in 1920 and 1932) and Gillis Grafstrom (in 1920 and both 1924 and 1928) set the benchmark for Rutherford by taking gold at both, although the latter competed in the same sport – figure skating – on each occasion.

Eagen built on his light-heavyweight boxing triumph in the four-man bobsled.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.