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 119.

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

    Well said. As if it isn't enough that the taxpayer has funded their training so that they can go on to make millions out of advertising shaving foam, shampoo etc. If anything, reward the trainers and support team, but not with this outdated "honours" system. The same old cult of the celebrity nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    @105.Dr_Ads, in some cases the athletes have actually been at the top of their sport for more than 1 or 2 races, Victoria Pendleton was at the top of Female cycling for most of the last 7 years, and shes retired, so I believe there is nottihng wrong with that, however giving Rutherford a gong simply for one gold medal totally agree.

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    So what do you call their medal then? Or that they are picked to represent this country? Or the media attantion Or the lucrative TV deals?
    All honours...
    I think most people sem to agree, it's the people who have supported them that are more deserving!

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Annie ty but i'm no hero lol, Raven my point is i do it for myself as much as i do for kids, i get just as much out of it as they do, if somebody gives 20 years of life to achieve something great for themselves and also to help others to achieve the same thing then surely they deserve to be honoured regardless of the job they do, be they a milkman or a soldier.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    I find it highly amusing that at least two people on this thread criticising 'elitism' also criticised the labour govt wanting 'everyone to go to university' and 'exams everyone can pass'.

    What the hell is wrong with elitism anyway? Perhaps if we reward great achievement rather than encouraging mediocrity we might achieve more as a nation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    Yes, they deserve to have their achievement acknowledged, BUT the more honours there are floating around, the less those honours mean.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    Olympic competitors are in it for themselves, - not the country, not for other folk, simply themselves.

    If they get a medal, that is reward enough.

    If they can make some money on the back of the hard work and success, good luck to them.

    Otherwise, they are simply indulging in nothing more or less than a hobby

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    It's about time too

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Completely stupid.

    No olympian hobbyist deserves or needs another medal!
    (nor actor, singer or other already financially rewarded person)

    This is pure political showboating, trying to make politicians look good before the irrelevance of the olympic supposed achievements beating other hobbyists largely funded on our cash fades quickly from the public memory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    The whole gong system is a farce. Instead of opening it up to soap stars and tabloid editors and such like they should have just closed the whole thing down altogether. It used to be that having a title signified exceptional service and/or achievement. Now they're ten a penny and most mean next to nothing. For example, is Dame Kelly Holmes more interested in her Dameness or in her gold medals?

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Honours for cricketers involved in a 2 horse race (Ashes) showed that they are doled out for political expediency rather than any amazing merit; it's the gov.t's way of cashing in on the national feelgood fiction. The gongs might help them out later though when they are put up for auction like so many footballers now do as they realise the pub they bought for retirement's been put out of business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Elite athletes don't make sacrifices. They exercise choice to do the thing they are driven to do They have to be unashamedly selfish to get there. Family around them make sacrifices to support them. They don't need honours they are having the time of their lives!

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    Sounds like its creating a second tier for honours and I don`t see the point in giving gongs to people who already have their reward. I would rather the honours system be based mostly on people who volunteer, raise money for charity, create businesses and who serve their country in extraordinary ways. Not Bankers, Civil servants, Actors, Footballers etc who seem to take more than they give back..

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Better honours going the athletes than the normal business men at least the athletes have done something worthwhile.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    In days gone by sportsmen/women had to wait until they retired, often decades later, before their cumulative efforts were recognised - not given gongs for 1 or 2 good races.

    This meant that the likes of Bobby Moore & Chris Chataway were never knighted (as they both deserved), but surely it's better to wait than award instantly?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    I applaud each and every one of the athletes who won medals at the games but honours should be reserved for the coaches, trainers and unpaid helpers who didn't win a medal but who give up their own free time to make it all possible.

    The only medal an athlete should wish to own is a gold, silver or bronze.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    What's an appropriate honour for distracting the public from the actions of the Government for a month? Is turning attention from the awarding of billions of pounds worth of NHS contracts to private health companies worth an MBE or a CBE?

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Absolute nonsense - more elitism, which is bad enough, and it will encourage more honours at the beginning and in the middle of sporting careers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    @92. steve - If you worked as hard as the atheletes do, you'd be running your own company no doubt. It's all about choice and these athletes choose to push themselves to the limit to represent the country you live in.

    Anyway, I'm sure you'd like an honour if you spent 4+ year dedicating your life to a career in sport where the small margin of error determines your success at the top level.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Oh please !! I would love to get a honour for just doing my day job !


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