SEBASTIAN COE believes Britain is set for an “extraordinary weekend” of Olympic sport with the prospect of a bumper gold medal haul.
British competitors are favourites to win as many as eight golds in rowing, cycling, sailing and athletics.
But Lord Coe, double Olympic champion and London 2012 chairman, insisted it does not really matter where Britain finishes in the overall medal table just long as there are “big British moments” to remember.
Coe said: “People are looking forward to an extraordinary sporting weekend but I don’t think they are thinking that this is a make or break.
“What is important are big British moments. I don’t think people really sit there wondering where we finished on the medals table. What they remember is Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave, Matt Pinsent, Chris Hoy or Nicole Cooke.
“People are excited about it already and they know that they we have a very good start.
“We had a gold and a silver in the pool. We are going back a long way when you remember a day like that in the pool and a gold medal in road cycling.
“People at home know that we are witnessing a step change and I hope it continues right the way through.”
In terms of athletics, Coe insists that expectations should be set at a very low level with success measured by the numbers making finals rather than winning medals.
He added: “I’m not going to minimise the importance of our track and field count. We got out of jail in Athens in track and field because of one moment that was more luck than judgment, and one huge moment with Kelly Holmes that I had thought could happen.
“Take the 4x100m relay and Kelly Holmes out of the mix and it wasn’t a great track and field championships.
“We hardly got a single male individual through to a final in Athens.
“We are coming from a low level here and I don’t think we are going to get a great medal haul here.”
Coe picked out potential track and field medalists as Paula Radcliffe in the marathon, triple jumper Phillips Idowu, heptathlete Kelly Sotherton with Andy Baddeley as an outside shot in the 1,500m.