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 39.

    can WE have a medal for having to 'endure' some of the drivel that has surrounded the Olympics - not to mention the hefty cost to the taxpayer???

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    For goodness sake: the precedent was unfortunately set by giving Chris Hoy a knighthood.The winning of medals is honour enough but the artificial celebrity culture that seems to embrace every aspect of daily life has created an invidious situation.One gets a gong so automatically they all have to have one,or worse, leave somebody out and there will be howls of disapproval.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I get sick of people bringing money in to it. So what if these athletes earn money? Theyve worked damned hard enough to earn it!
    All the athletes have earned honours. They have sacrificed family life and dedicated themselves to hard graft for themselves and their country for years to reach the standards they have. I honour them all

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Some of these athletes have been support to the tune of millions of pounds. When they have spent a further 30 years inspiring, nurturing an developing future world champions should they be considered for an honour

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Fair enough. They've done something positive for the nation. From some of the comments here you'd think an OBE came with a cheque for £1M taken direct from the NHS budget. Being called 'Sir Peter Sym OBE MBE etc etc etc' costs Cameron absolutely nothing.... unlike actually funding proper sports facilities

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Gareth Edwards is widely regarded as the greatest rugby player ever.
    where is his knighthood? Perhaps he should buy a bike!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Why on earth should someone who has just received an Olympic gold medal be awarded something else? It's like the whole system - stupidly out of date; something this country has as a left over from Empire which other states manage perfectly well without.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Olympians / Paralympians deserve honours.

    David Cameron, on the other hand, is entirely dishonourable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    I just want to vomit!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Olympic Medals are the awards for Olympic events, in the same way that a high salary can be the reward for working in the city at a high level.
    Why do athletes need "extra"?
    Give the awards to Trainers and other people who have worked "behind the scenes" over a long period of time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    @27 Derek H - York many are well funded but just as many are seriously underfunded!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    People on this comments section seem just to criticize what ever the Government suggest for the sake of it, no matter if they agree with the policy or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Agree fully with Tardis_Crewmember. Great achievements, absolutely, but this is getting rediculous. Many of these people have been well funded to achieve what they have. It all started to go awry with the awards handed out to the Rugby World Cup Winners - I'm a big Rugby fan by the way. That set a precedent that is now difficult to move away from - as evidenced by this latest move.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Give the honours to people who have don the most to help others to succede, not to those who have already got the medals and the deals enabling them to profit from comercial use of their names.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    This years SPOTY will be insane. Actually can't think of a non oly/para athlete making top 10

    Wiggins, Ennis, Kenny, Hoy, Pendleton, Farah, Ainslie, Weir, Cockcroft, Peacock, Symonds, Storey is already 12!

    I wonder how they'll do the honours as well. Can't give 1 to every medallist but is the gymnastics bronze better than a swimming bronze?

    Most would think so but possibly hard to justify

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    OK. first of all very proud of the sportsmen/women. However - lets not forget that most of these are now professionals and will earn, in many cases, millions from their new-found fame. Its their job now to run, jump, swim etc. Why do people get honoured for doing well at their job ? lets stop the honours becoming even more meaningless and reserve them for those who do good for no personal gain!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    I think the winners have a gold medal or silver or bronze so they dont need further honours do they? Their voluntary work might be considered if they do it.

    The back room boys(-trainers, volunteer youth workers etc.) who got them there however have not been recognised. I hope they will be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Absolutely right that Olympic and Paralympic athletes are honoured. However, the whole system needs an overdue overhaul. Whitehall cronies out of touch with reality, should not decide who receives an honour. The system should be totally transparent instead of the current smoke and mirrors quota system. Let's end the current nepotism and self serving civil service and corporate back slapping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Anyone disagreeing with this need to grow up a bit. These guys and girls give up an awful lot to compete at the top level. Yes, they may have medals but they competed and represented for your country.

    This won't stop the other honours to others within the community. This team should be embraced as role models. Not the celeb idiots you see on the rival TV channel every day. Well done Cameron!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Surely no-one can deny that Bradley Wiggins deserves to be made Sir Bradley.
    OK, so that's one knighthood awarded, I wonder how they will decide who the other one might be; if they decide that there should be more than one.


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