Wiggins and Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours list

 

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has been knighted in the New Year Honours list after winning the Tour de France and then gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

GB cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford, who helped Wiggins become the first Briton to win the Tour, is also made a sir.

Also knighted are four-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie and GB rowing chief Dave Tanner.

Brailsford on "weird" knighthood

Sarah Storey, winner of multiple Paralympic gold medals, is made a dame.

A knighthood caps a dream year for Wiggins, who was named the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year in December 2012, after he won the Tour in July and the Olympic time trial in August.

The 32-year-old called the honour the "ultimate accolade", adding he felt it was acknowledgment not only of his achievements in 2012 but over the past 12 years.

"I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight, so it's an incredible honour," said Wiggins. "But there's a slight element of disbelief and it will take a while to sink in."

The four-time Olympic champion said it would also add to his appeal amongst his French fans.

"They will love it," he said. "It will add to the myth. I will have to get a bowler hat as well. They are fascinated slightly with our Britishness, our culture and things like knighthoods, so it is a nice thing to have."

Storey claimed four cycling golds at the London Paralympics to add to the two she won at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Speaking about her award, she said: "It's an incredible feeling. It's hard to put into words other than just it is the greatest honour."

Four knights and one dame

Ben Ainslie: For services to sailing.

Dave Brailsford: For services to cycling and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sarah Storey: For services to para-cycling.

David Tanner: For services to rowing and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bradley Wiggins: For services to cycling.

Before switching to para-cycling, Storey won five Paralympic golds in the swimming pool. She claimed two at Barcelona in 1992 and then three at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Her 11 Paralympic titles are only matched by legendary wheelchair athlete Baroness Grey-Thompson and swimmer Dave Roberts. Her collection of 22 medals of all colours is unsurpassed.

"We feel so fortunate that 2012 will always stand out as being the most incredible year," said 35-year-old Storey, who is married to fellow Paralympic gold medallist Barney Storey.

Asked how she had reacted to hearing the news that she would become a dame, she replied: "We had a chuckle. It's unbelievable to think that that's my new title. It's a real honour. There is no other way to describe it."

The honours list is dominated by athletes and coaches from the Olympics and Paralympics after their inspirational success this summer.

Brailsford, who also masterminded Britain's dominance in cycling at the Olympics and Paralympics as well as helping Wiggins win the Tour as Team Sky boss, said it felt "weird" and "uncomfortable" to be knighted.

Sarah Storey

Dame Sarah Storey: "It's unbelievable to think that that's my new title"

"It is quite humbling and it really is something to try to get my head around," added the 48-year-old.

"I'm very lucky and aware that the sport of cycling has grown and that we have had great success because it is a team effort over a long, long period of time."

Ainslie has more Olympic medals than any other sailor. After winning silver in Atlanta in 1996, he went on to take gold in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London.

He is fourth in the list of Britain's all-time individual medallists behind Sir Chris Hoy (cycling: six gold, one silver), Sir Steve Redgrave (rowing: five gold, one bronze) and Wiggins (cycling: four gold, one silver, two bronze).

The 35-year-old,who retired from Olympic sailing in November, admitted he never dreamt of being knighted when he began Olympic sailing more than 20 years ago.

"This is an incredible honour," added Ainslie, who will attempt to win the Americas Cup in 2013,

"I couldn't have achieved this honour without the support of all the people who have helped me throughout my career and so I hope they can also take some pride in this moment."

Tanner has been GB rowing's performance director since 1996, leading the sport through the most successful period in its history.

Sir Ben Ainslie

Ainslie says knighthood is a "proud moment"

Britain won three medals at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, four in Athens in 2004, and six at Beijing 2008 before taking nine, including four gold, at London 2012.

Andy Murray, who also won gold at the Games, becomes an OBE. After his men's singles victory at London 2012, the Scot became the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam tournament when he triumphed at the US Open in September.

Others from the world of sport who are recognised for their contributions include former England cricketers Mark Ramprakash and Robert Croft who are appointed MBEs. Former England cricket captain and Kent president Mike Denness is given an OBE for services to sport, 37-and-a-half years after his last Test match.

Ex-Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice and former rugby league star Paul Sculthorpe are also appointed MBEs.

Former Wales and Lions wing JJ Williams also becomes an MBE for services to rugby and charity in Wales.

David Sheepshanks, the joint-acting chairman of the Football Association, is appointed a CBE. He oversaw the building of the National Football Centre near Burton, which opened in October, and was chairman of Ipswich Town for 13 years from 1995 to 2008.

OLYMPIANS IN NEW YEAR HONOURS

Knighthood: Ben Ainslie - sailing; Bradley Wiggins - cycling

CBE: Katherine Grainger - rowing; Jessica Ennis - athletics; Mo Farah - athletics; Victoria Pendleton - cycling.

OBE: Charlotte Dujardin - equestrian; Jason Kenny - cycling; Andy Murray - tennis; Laura Trott - cycling.

MBE: Nicola Adams - boxing; Tim Baillie - canoeing; Laura Bechtolsheimer - equestrian; Scott Brash - equestrian; Alistair Brownlee - triathlon; Steven Burke - cycling; Luke Campbell - boxing; Peter Charles - equestrian; Katherine Copeland - rowing; Helen Glover - rowing; Alex Gregory - rowing; Carl Hester - equestrian; Philip Hindes - cycling; Sophie Hosking - rowing; Jade Jones - taekwondo; Anthony Joshua - boxing; Peter Kennaugh - cycling; Dani King - cycling; Mary King - equestrian; Ben Maher - equestrian; Ed McKeever - canoeing; Joanna Rowsell - cycling; Greg Rutherford - athletics; Louis Smith - gymnastics; Heather Stanning - rowing; Etienne Stott - canoeing; Anna Watkins - rowing; Peter Wilson - shooting.

PARALYMPIANS IN NEW YEAR HONOURS

Dame: Sarah Storey - cycling.

CBE: David Weir - athletics.

OBE: Sophie Christiansen - equestrian; Ellie Simmonds - swimming.

MBE: Jessica-Jane Applegate - swimming; Natasha Baker - equestrian; Danielle Brown - archery; Mickey Bushell - athletics; Hannah Cockroft - athletics; Mark Colbourne - cycling; Josef Craig - swimming; Deborah Criddle - equestrian; Aled Davies - athletics; Neil Fachie - cycling; Jonathan Fox - swimming; Heather Frederiksen - swimming; Oliver Hynd - swimming; Helena Lucas - sailing; Craig MacLean - cycling; Nigel Murray - boccia; Jonnie Peacock - athletics; Josie Pearson - athletics; Pam Relph - rowing; Naomi Riches - rowing; James Roe - rowing; David Smith - rowing; Lily van den Broecke - rowing; Sophie Wells - equestrian; Richard Whitehead - athletics.