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 1165.

    Why does Mo Farah only get an OBE when Bradley Wiggins gets a Knighthood???.... yes BW set up a womens pro cycling team but Mo Farahs charity aims to tangibly save peoples lives!!!!! This whole honours systems smacks of political manipulation, it devalues the work of the people who actually deserve the honours and accolades.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.

    For 1146.TellMeWhy

    The recipients of these honours are chosen from hundreds of nominated people, the government decides the short list, then these people are contacted to see if they will accept the honour, almost everyone does. Personally I think sports people/celebrities & politicians should decline unless they are nominated for something exceptional & not to do with their professsion.

  • Comment number 1163.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    It's not a question of who does and who doesn't get an honer, it's the fact that this outdated anarchistic royal patronage system has no place in 21st century Britain.


    Nor does poor spelling.

    If you don't like having a system for the public to nominate people to be recognised for achievements, don't use the system, and don't comment on those who do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

    I wonder how the honours system sits in Ed's One Nation ideology?

    Maybe it should be One's Nation instead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    1146. TellMeWhy "If you're not happy with who got an honour, nominate someone you think does deserve one."

    Even a cursory glance at the majority of comments shows that it is the outmoded system of honours and who is instrumental in 'granting' them and why is what is being discussed or criticised, together with the wider context of elitism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    Im upset that the cast Of Towie were not mentioned in the list, i mean it is already irrelevant and nothing more than pat slapping so why not give awards to them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1158.

    "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,"

    Is this a joke!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1157.

    @ 1138. geordie lad.

    No need to call him Sir, I don't think norstewart @ 1085 got a knighthood, but he may as well have as that's how easy it is to get one theses days. Sports persons do not deserve Knighthoods for merely doing what they are supposed to do. I'd have more respect for BW's Knighthood if it were for his support of the cycling team he set up, but it wasn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1156.

    The honours system seems to be all about celebrity and politicians use awards to curry favour with the general public. It is those who are seen in the 'right places' and are good at self-publicity who are honoured. The people who put in the really hard work in voluntary public service seldom seem to get recognised. Honours should be about service beyond the call of duty not simply doing your job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1155.

    Bradley Wiggins hair is not cut properly above the forehead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1154.

    Whilst I am in favour of honouring sports persons I think it should be done after they have retired and therefore take into account the achievements of their careers retrospectively. As excellent a career as Bradley Wiggins has had (7 Olympic medals, 11 world medals, TDF, various stage races etc) I feel that it is perhaps a little early to be dishing out knighthoods - wait until he retires!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1153.

    OMG All these years I've been waiting for a Knight on a white horse when all along I should have been waiting for one on a bike.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1152.

    I think her Nibs missed a trick here. Why weren't the hoodie heroes honoured? Dave must be livid.

    Ma'am, might I be permitted to ask why you are openly insulting your own loyal subjects? We pay for your luxury, after all.

  • Comment number 1151.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1150.

    @1145: "There is a more appropriate fate for Hector Sants & it does not involve a light tap with a sword."

    A red hot poker would be too kind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1149.

    1138. geordie lad
    "Sir Bradley's setting up and funding a womens pro-cycling team." - really he set up a women's professional cycling team!!! (honda team)
    Hold on - how are earth is that worthy of an award? That should help th poor, needy and sick. You don't reckon giving the money he's putting into that might be better spent on something, how I can put this - actually deserving?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1148.

    Why in gods name are Olympians and Paralympians being honoured? they are merely doing their job!!!!!! OR.... are they expected JUST to compete and the winning is an exception ..... no they are paid to win, that is the expectation, and win they should for what some of them get paid in salaries and endorsements! This devalues the honours which should be for those who deserve it in their actions!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1147.

    Good these people actually do stuff rather than these idiot politicians who just go round annoying everyone

  • rate this

    Comment number 1146.

    To all those moaning about the people who have got an honour:

    If you're not happy with who got an honour, nominate someone you think does deserve one. It doesn't cost you anything apart from time and effort.

    You can't complain that someone has nominated someone else if you haven't bothered to nominate someone yourself.



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