What a state of affairs!

Artist Frank Shepherd poses with his creation of U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong in Edenbridge.-AP

Thirty years after gold medals and world records, a spell in politics and leadership of our Olympic effort, Sebasitan Coe is a hero once again. By Ted Corbett.

Thank heavens we still have heroes in this country even if worldwide the men we thought of as invincible turn out to have feet of clay.

There has been, most notoriously, Lance Armstrong, almost permanent winner of the Tour de France, the greatest of all long distance and cycle races, who has fuelled his victories with drugs and, so it appears, bullied his team-mates into using the same methods.

He may have ruined the iconic race because he has been stripped of all his titles yet the authorities cannot find replacement champions. It seems that the race was full of drug cheats so that in some cases the first half dozen all have this crime to their name.

In my country we have great pride in the police who guard our streets unarmed — at their own request, please note, and not at the whim of some strangely modernist politician — and who, in the main, perform their duties with an almost religious zeal.

If you need help they are ready to lend a hand; if you are guilty they will haul you off to jail; if you offer them a bribe they will throw it back in your face before they haul you off to jail; and if an emergency arises they are the men on call.

Or so we believed.

In the last few weeks we have discovered that they can also be liars. They rewrote the witness statements from the disaster at the football match at Hillsborough and for nearly 30 years maintained the belief that drunken Liverpool fans were the culprits as nearly 100 died.

Now that story has been blown apart, their chief has resigned and charges are pending. It is as big a blow to national pride as you can imagine.

Finally, it is now being shown that for at least 40 years Jimmy Savile — knighted for his splendid work for charity which raised millions of pounds — has been assaulting youngsters. Once again the nation is in shock, as much as anything because he often rigged himself out in sports gear and appeared to be the epitome of clean living and decency.

Again we were deceived by this nasty man’s image. He died late last year which means that he cannot be charged and that he cannot defend himself.

To a journalist taught from his teens to present both sides of the story, that seems injustice but nothing like as unjust as the horrors inflicted on the children who trusted him and were so grossly misused.

Happily, there are still heroes.

Olympic champions who have strutted their stuff in London this summer, won their gold medals have gone quietly back to their training camps, their retirement or their jobs without so much as a single shout of “Look at me! Wasn’t I great?”

They all say they want to defend their titles at Rio in four years, they all speak of their pride in doing their best for their country and they make no demands. It has been a wonderful time for all of us, just as it has been for the support staff, the trainers, the cheer leaders, the men and women with their outsize hands pointing the way and those who simply sat and cheered.

In many ways, although I could not be at the stadium that has transformed East London, it was the greatest show of my star-filled life, watching sporting achievement around the world. I dare not glance away from the TV lest I miss another athlete — never mind from which country — breaking yet another record.

I feel privileged that I was alive to see Usain Bolt, just as I was to watch Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, Pele, George Best, and to meet men of the stature of Seb Coe.

Ah, Lord Coe. When our paths crossed he was in doubt about whether he might run in the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980. “It is not something to make one’s mind up about in a hurry,” I recall him saying and how impressed I was at his wisdom in his early 20s.

Now, 30 years after gold medals and world records, a spell in politics and leadership of our Olympic effort, he is a hero once again.

Day by day I am bombarded by requests for a vote on who should be the Sportsman of the Year.

The Sports Journalist Association sent me a list covering two sheets of paper. There was the hands-on-the-head long distance runner Mo Farah, Andy Murray, winner of the U. S. Open and our first great tennis champion since before the Second World War and Bradley Wiggins, winner of the Tour de France.

I have a hero to beat them all.

Let Lord Coe, as he is now, be Sportsman of the Year and represent us all, from the builder who put the first brick of the stadium in place, by way of the athletes, the spectators, the viewers, the officials, the men and women who carried the torch round the country; for those who cheered and even those who added the occasional jeer; for the broadcasters and writers and engineers; for the disabled athletes and even those who went on holiday so that their day would not be spoiled by Olympic traffic chaos.

Just let us all pray that none of those will test positive for drugs at some time in the far distant future.