Olympians and Paralympians to get own honours list

Jessica Ennis celebrates winning heptathlon Gold medal winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis could be among those in line for an honour

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Britain's Olympians and Paralympians are to get their own honours list, rather than simply being included in the New Year's Honours.

David Cameron has decided to place awards arising from the London 2012 Games outside the usual system.

There has been no official confirmation of a separate honours list but Whitehall sources have told the BBC it will happen.

They said it would reflect the scale of achievement by British athletes.

The 29 gold medals at the London games and more than 100 medals so far at the Paralympics had raised expectations that champions such as Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds would be recognised.

'Good news'

The prime minister's official spokesman said no official announcement would would be made at this stage.

But he added: "The prime minister is very keen to recognise people who contributed to the very successful Olympics and Paralympics."

Johnnie Peacock who won the T44 100m said he was pleased by the decision.

Mr Peacock said: "That is good news. It's good to hear that he's obviously supporting everything and you know this country really has pushed the Olympics and Paralympics and they really are getting behind everyone so it's great to see the support that even he's given."

Dame Tessa Jowell, the former Labour Olympics minister, has also welcomed the move.

"Like any system, of course it should constantly be kept under review and make sure that its rules and the people who are being honoured are the people who reflect just dessert in the broader country," she said.

Public support

There was also general support among spectators attending events at the Olympic Park on Friday for a separate honours list.

Sam Morgan, who is from Australia but now lives in London, said: "I guess the hardest thing is to decide who is going to get the honours.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller: "I think it's a fantastic recognition"

"Difficult to say whether it should just be the gold medallists or all the people who have put in so much work."

Adrienne Hughes, from Suffolk, said: "I think it's a good idea as long as they have some of the Games Makers in that list.

"They are all so lovely, so helpful and smile and the separate list would be brilliant if they do that."

Speculation that Britain's Olympic heroes would miss out on honours was triggered last month by a senior civil servant, Jonathan Stephens, who told the BBC medals would not mean an "automatic gong".

Honours are awarded for exceptional achievement or service, twice every year - at New Year, and in mid-June - and are decided by a Whitehall committee and not the government.

The sport committee, which is chaired by Olympic chief Lord Coe, is strictly limited as to the number of gongs it can award per year.

Baroness Grey-Thompson - herself an 11 time paralympic gold medallist - and sits on the sporting honours committee previously told the BBC that they were able to award "one or two" knighthoods, a "few more" CBEs, "more" OBEs and "up to 45-50 MBEs".

By giving Olympic and Paralympic athletes their own honours list Downing Street can ensure that there is no limit on the number of awards handed out.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Let's hope that senior civil servants don't get an automatic gong either nowadays!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Absolutely ridiculous – the honours system is now so corrupt and watered down they are worthless.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    By setting a precedent of this nature, it is going to be difficult to stem the flood of those deemed worthy of honours. An award then to every member of an FA cup winning team? Or a cricket test series winning team if they are British (or Commonwealth)? Every member of the RU World Cup team? And what about every world or European champion? This sort of precedent should be avoided.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    The gold, silver and bronze medals they earn at any individual Olympics is recognition of their immediate achievements. Honours should only be awarded to those who’ve made a long-term impact on their sport and worked to develop their sport for the betterment of others. Also, honours should go to key people in the Olympic team, those who’ve helped get athletes to the top over many years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Couldn't agree more with 5 and 7 - sport should be about the sport, you win your medal. If an athlete gives something back to the community over an extended period then the existing system caters for that. Or is Cameron just wanting to 'cash in' on the olympic 'feel good' factor?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I think they should put down a list for those who are responsible for rows of empty seats (business failure), too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I'm sorry but I see no point in this. I will not call someone "Sir" just because they've had a pat on the back from government nor will I applaud and fawn over them for doing what is basically their day job, or hobby.

    The athletes aren't in it for your enjoyment, their in it for themselves.

    Applaud and award honours to those less self-serving, like carers, nurses, armed forces personnel etc..

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I am hoping that honours will be awarded to those athletes based on their service to the community and not just on whether they won a medal.
    Also I suspect that there are many coaches and athletes that also deserve recognition as well as those that won the medals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    A great idea BUT is the same Honours List going to be used to honour the coaches and mentors who inspire and drive our Olympians?

    These are the unsung heroes who don't get Gold, Silver and Bronze and who are the heart of the success story.

    BTW Not a sentimental chap usually but there was a tear of joy and pride last night for all of those wonderful acheivements

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I recognise that our athletes have done very well but surely they have received their reward in the games medals that they have won.The honours list is losing creditability in the way that they are now handed out fo people, such as so called personalilties who have already been amply rewarded financially for just doing their job !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Our Athletes have worked long and hard for the medals they have won and I'm sure most are quite happy with that. I feel that the media is making too much of an issue of honours for the medals winners, I just don't feel that honours should be expected as well. Honours should be restricted to a few exceptional cases rather than being made the norm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Whilst I applaud the endeavours and achievements of all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, why are they automatically up for any sort of award whether it be "outside" of the normal system or not? This would seem to devalue the whole honours system further.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    An Olympic medal would mean much more to me than a follow-on civil honour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Surely an Olympic medal is the only gong that athletes should cherish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Oh. I thought they already had their own honours list. It's called "medals". What they really need is a great party thrown by the Queen, and uncorrupted by politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Please stop using the word 'gong' - this isn't the Daily Star

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Potentially not a bad idea, but the Honours System needs to be treated with care. Indeed, such institutions absolutely rely on a sense of reverence, trust and ceremony - if you meddle too much, you can devalue the whole operation. Those athletes that contribute to the life of the nation through devotion to public service should still be recognised in the normal manner as part of the normal list.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    'Olympians to get own honours list, says No 10'

    Would this be so the Olympians don't 'devalue' the honours given to the government's genuine cronies & financial backers?


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