Author hopes Ovett vs. Coe film will inspire a new generation
IT HAS been described as the greatest rivalry of all time, one that reached all the way over the Atlantic and touched America despite being an all-British affair.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett were fierce rivals during the 80s, with a film about their rivalry set to be screened on the BBC (Getty Images)
Middle-distance running has never been the most glamorous of sports but Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett created a heyday in athletics which is unlikely ever to be repeated.
It was exactly 30 years ago that the pair lined up at the Moscow Olympics desperate to outdo each other on the world stage.
The spoils were shared in Russia with Ovett taking gold in the 800m and Coe in the 1500m just days later.
And their rivalry was so intense that 1981 saw a ten-day period where three world records were exchanged between them.
The battle between the two is set to be recreated on screen with the BBC announcing that they are to turn Pat Butcher's 2005 book A Perfect Distance into a film to be released before London 2012.
And although their sporting achievements alone are enough to warrant a juicy script, it was their vastly different backgrounds which really caught the public's attention.
While Coe has accepted a role as consultant on the film, Ovett has refused to be a part of the project citing worries that the stereotypes of rebellious working class boy against clean-cut perfect smile Seb will be overplayed.
But perhaps Ovett is missing the point.
The intense media scrutiny over the pair in the early eighties saw middle-distance running highlighted like never before and it is arguably since this golden period that the profile of athletics has plummeted to an all-time low.