IAAF Hall of Fame - Sebastian Coe (GBR) (Getty Images) © Copyright
However, he became a true superstar of the sport in 1979 when he set three World records in 41 days, running 800m and Mile records at separate meetings in Oslo before going into new territory over 1500m in Zurich.
At the 1980 Olympics, Coe was favourite for the 800m but ran a tactically poor race and had to settle for the silver medal behind his compatriot Steve Ovett but, six days later, he took the 1500m title.
Four more World records followed in 1981.
He started off the year with an 800m World indoor record before improving his own standard over two laps of the track outdoors when he ran 1:41.73 in Florence, which was to remain unbeaten until 1997.
Coe then reduced his own 1000m World record from the previous year to 2:12.18, another mark which was to stand the test of time and not bettered for more than 18 years.
His final World record of 1981 came when ran a 3:47.33 Mile in Brussels.
In 1983, he improved his 800m indoor time to 1:44.91 on home soil at Cosford.
Coe's second Olympic 1500m gold medal came in similar circumstances to those of four years earlier. In Los Angeles, he had to settle for the silver medal over 800m before redeeming himself over the longer distance.
He has become of of the most high-profile sports administrators in the world and was the Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
Coe is also currently a Vice-President of the IAAF.