Olympic heroes head New Year Honours


'Sir Wiggo' amused by knighthood

Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold, has been knighted in a New Year Honours list dominated by London 2012 medallists.

The cyclist appears on a special list drawn up to recognise 78 Games heroes.

Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey becomes a dame after taking four golds while the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, Ben Ainslie, is knighted.

Katherine Grainger, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and David Weir become CBEs, and Andy Murray is an OBE.

And the men behind cycling and rowing success, performance directors Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, also become sirs.

Olympics and Paralympics


  • Ben Ainslie (sailing)
  • Sarah Storey (cycling)
  • Bradley Wiggins (cycling)
  • Dave Brailsford (cycling)
  • David Tanner (rowing)


  • Jessica Ennis (athletics)
  • Mo Farah (athletics)
  • Katherine Grainger (rowing)
  • Victoria Pendleton (cycling)
  • David Weir (athletics)


  • Jason Kenny (cycling)
  • Andy Murray (tennis)
  • Ellie Simmonds (swimming)
  • Laura Trott (cycling)


  • Nicola Adams (boxing)
  • Alistair Brownlee (triathlon)
  • Jonny Peacock (athletics)
  • Greg Rutherford (athletics)
  • Louis Smith (gymnastics)

Away from the Games, there are OBEs for actor Ewan McGregor and fashion designer Stella McCartney, while illustrator Quentin Blake was also knighted on the main list for those not involved in London 2012.

There is also a knighthood for the industrial designer, Kenneth Grange, the man behind the UK's first parking meter, the InterCity 125 train and the Kodak Instamatic camera.

Singer Kate Bush and artist Tracey Emin are made CBEs, an honour also bestowed on former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, for her services to dance and to charity. Comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd, 82, who co-wrote TV shows including the BBC's 'Allo 'Allo and Are You Being Served is among the OBEs.

There is also a CBE for Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in recognition of her service to women's issues and to charity in the UK and overseas. The first female foreign secretary Margaret Beckett becomes a dame.

For the first time, the Cabinet Office has published citations giving details of why the highest honours have been made following a complaint from MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee that the process should be more transparent.

But much of the attention will centre on the people rewarded for making the two London Games such a success.

Affectionately known as Wiggo, the first British winner of the Tour said: "I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour.

"But there's a slight element of disbelief and it will take a while to sink in."

Known for his sideburns and his retro Mod fashion sense, Sir Bradley already had a CBE.

Storey, who is expecting her first child, is honoured for services to para-cycling after her London medal haul took her gold medal total to 11, which equals Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts as one of the country's most successful Paralympians.

Other notable recipients

Peter Higgs

Companion of Honour:

  • Lord Coe (London 2012)
  • Professor Peter Higgs (physics, pictured)


  • Quentin Blake (illustration)
  • Kenneth Grange (design)
  • Bernard Hogan-Howe (policing)
  • Hector Sants (financial services)
  • Margaret Beckett (political service)


  • Cherie Blair (women's issues)
  • Kate Bush (music)
  • Tracey Emin (arts)
  • Martha Lane Fox (digital economy)
  • Arlene Phillips (dance)


  • Stella McCartney (fashion)
  • Ewan McGregor (acting)


  • Nicola Benedetti (music)
  • Mark Ramprakash (cricket)
  • Pat Rice (football)

The 35-year-old from Disley in Cheshire said: "Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud."

Some of the biggest names of London 2012 received CBEs - the UK's most successful female rower, Katherine Grainger, the poster girl of the Games, Jessica Ennis, and wheelchair athlete David "The Weirwolf" Weir. Weir won four gold medals in the 5,000m, 1500m, 800m and marathon at the 2012 Paralympics.

Joining their ranks with his first honour is athlete Mo Farah, who lifted the nation with his double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

His first came during a pulsating 46 minutes in the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday, 4 August, when Team GB picked up three gold medals - Farah in the 10,000m, Ennis in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford in the long jump, an achievement that earned him an MBE.

Andy Murray was made an OBE in a year which saw him win Olympic gold and become the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open.

Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, 18, now has an OBE to add to the MBE she won in 2009, the youngest person to do so aged 14.

Some of the people who helped to make the games such a success were recognised, including Lord Coe, who becomes a Companion of Honour, a special honour given for service of conspicuous national importance and limited to 65 people at any one time.

It is an exclusive club and now also includes Professor Peter Higgs, who predicted a new particle, the Higgs Boson, in the 1960s, and this year the particle was proved to exist.

One name missing from the list is film and theatre director Danny Boyle, whose artistic vision was so spectacularly realised in the Olympic opening ceremony.

When asked if he would like to become "Sir Danny" during an interview on Radio 4's Front Row earlier this month, Mr Boyle laughed and said: "I'm very proud to be an equal citizen and I think that's what the opening ceremony was actually about."

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said he turned down the offer of a CBE for his services to the Olympics.

Nicola Adams said: "I can't believe how much my life has changed"

He told London radio station LBC 97.3: "I don't believe politicians should get honours", adding that he "was paid very good money to be the mayor of London" and voters' recognition was reward enough for him.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas has been appointed an MBE for services to the community in Chiswick, west London.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said an unprecedented number of sportspeople had received honours, with 123 awards compared to 44 in the last list. Of these, 78 were related to the Olympics or Paralympics.

He said there were four criteria in deciding which athletes should be awarded including longevity in the sport, general performance and how much they give back to the sporting community.

The sporting honours committee also assesses what stage the individual is in their career in terms of whether they are likely to be competing for a further number of years.

He added that 72% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

Sir Quentin Blake: "To me it's amazing"

They include Penelope Clough, 53, who becomes an MBE after campaigning for a change in the law related to bail, following the murder of her daughter Jane by her ex-partner.

The man committed the offence after being released on bail but following the work of Ms Clough, prosecutors are now able to challenge judges' bail decisions in the High Court.

Recipients of the British Empire Medal (BEM), reintroduced in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours, include Robert Clinton for his work with the Veterans Aid charity, which looks after homeless ex-service personnel.

The Foreign Office's diplomatic and overseas list honouring those living or working abroad includes recognition for codebreaker Raymond Roberts, who is made an MBE for services to Bletchley Park. Alison Shalaby, who is the chief executive officer of Reunite, becomes a CBE for services to the prevention and resolution of international parental child abduction.

Some 31 head teachers have been recognised, including Joan McVittie, who transformed two schools in deprived areas of London and Sally Coates, who has overseen huge improvements at Burlington Danes Academy in west London. Both become Dames.

The Honours System

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal

In the world of business, former head of the Financial Services Authority Hector Sants who was in charge of regulation at the start of the credit crisis, has been knighted, while Sir Alan Budd, who was on the first Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee in 1997, becomes a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.

Prof Simon Wessely, a leading researcher into the mental health of military personnel who heads the department of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, has been knighted.

The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe is knighted.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Sorry, Brad and others did great things, but knighthoods etc no

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The people manning the food banks which are feeding our children should be honoured, not somebody who goes fastest on a bike.

    As for Cherie Blair, all she should have got is woken in the middle of the night as Tony is led of to the Hague.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    @ 17 Elecj

    So no one should have ambition,they should do WHAT THEY ARE TOLD. Typical HYS misery guts. They didnt do it for themselves anyhow. And they certainly have done more than you ever will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    The honours system is an outdated farce. I work with people who have given 30-40 years of service to this country, they get no thanks, their only reward is to have their terms and conditions of employment destroyed. Are people who can pedal a bike a bit quick, run a bit faster or throw an object a bit further more deserving? The Olympic love-in is way,way over the top.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I think they should half the amount of these honours handed out to keep them special.

    Also I would prefer it if athletes won awards for what they have used their success to do outside of their sports.
    e.g. Seb Coe deserved to be honoured for promoting athletics and sport in the young, and bringing the olympics to the UK. His reward for running was the medals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Oh dear, this is just so predictable - as usual sport rules. There are so many unsung heroes in this country doing so much good for our country with little pay or reward. Sports people get paid enormous sums plus all the celebrity status and sponsorships, it is obscene. The Olympians did well but why OBEs and CBEs, Knighthoods - its just got so ridiculous and become a joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I've no doubt we'll get the usual comments from the whingers & losers, but for me, a big well done for all the recipients and especially for the Olympians who gave us all so much pleasure this summer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    So some people who are paid to play games get honoured along with sundry other people, including one who made a career out of not making her bed, and another whose last decent album was released in 1985.

    When does this annual farce get binned? It's embarrassing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Oh dear! I really think the honours list idea has passed its sell by date.

    I'd much rather see an OBE given to some unknown person who selflessly gives to society rather than some Olympian who competes for them self.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I wont disagree with any gong our Olympians and Paralympians get, they all deserve it for what they did for our national mood over the summer. I would rather see Wiggo get a gong than a political stooge get one any day. But can we draw a line under the Olympics now please BBC, very soon it will be last years news.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    what are they and does anyone care?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Where's Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Very predictable. But the problem with honours is that they distributed so widely what value do they really have? They are given to reward political favours, to tax exiles, those who got paid high sums for doing whatever(services to themselves?), those who do things they enjoy anyway and get paid to do it. So what do you give to somebody who risks their life or gives their life to help others?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I don't think you can give enough honours to all our olympians, as they have truly been inspiring and made it a fantastic summer.

    I do worry that some of the appointments are politically correct though. e.g. equal split of politicians by party rather than on merit, and Sarah Storey awarded above Pendleton, even though her ability rather than disability stopped her competing at an olympic level.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    These people are effectively public servants if you consider how much the government gives to "sport".

    The fact that they did a good job makes them no more worthy of an honour than those working in your local council office or care home.

    Enough with the "hero" talk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Cycling is riddled with drugs cheats, look at Lance Armstrong, he passed every doping test he was given. The sport is very much tarnished.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Young sports persons made sir why

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I'm a little surprised that a token honour from a hereditary monarch is bigger for Wiggins than winning four olympic golds and the tour de france.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Bradley Wiggins has taken up meditation.

    He wants to find his inner tube.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The Vast Majority deserve them. The athletes in paticular. They did the country proud this year.


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