• New Years Honours

Wiggins & Ainslie knighted in New Year Honours

ESPN staff
December 29, 2012
Arise, 'Sir Wiggo' © Getty Images

Bradley Wiggins, the first Brit to win the Tour de France, has been knighted in the New Year Honours list.

The mastermind behind Wiggins', and Great Britain's, recent cycling success, David Brailsford, has also been awarded a KBE by the Queen - along with four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie.

Cyclist Sarah Storey, who won three gold medals in the Paralympics in 2012 to take her collection to 11 overall, has been named a Dame of the British Empire.

Wiggins, who followed up his historic yellow jersey triumph with an Olympic gold medal - the fourth of his career - in the road race at London 2012 just over a week later, heads a list of athletes to receive recognition and commendation from the Queen, following a remarkable year for sport in Great Britain.

Runner Mo Farah and heptathlete Jessica Ennis have both received CBEs, along with rower Katherine Grainger, Paralympian David Weir and cyclist Victoria Pendleton. Long jump gold medallist Greg Rutherford (MBE) and Olympic & US Open tennis champion Andy Murray (OBE) will also be making trips to Buckingham Palace.

Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, Ellie Simmonds, Charlotte Dujardin and Sophie Christiansen have also received OBEs, with Nicola Adams, Louis Smith, Johnny Peacock and Alistair Brownlee among a host of others rewarded with MBEs.

Having won the Olympic road race just nine days after crossing the line in Paris, Wiggins had played down the impending prospect of knighthood with his characteristic sardonic humour.

"'Sir Wiggo' doesn't sound right, to be honest," Wiggins said at the time. "As much as it would be an honour to receive it, I'd just put it in a drawer."

In his autobiography, 'My Time', published after the Olympics, he even doubted he would accept the honour - but on Saturday he was overwhelmed by the announcement.

"It's quite something really," Wiggins 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."

In December, he was recognised by the British public for his historic year, as he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in one of the most hotly-contested processes ever.

The 32-year-old, who was born in Belgium, previously received a CBE in 2009.

He added: "There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it [the knighthood] or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will. I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family.

"It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future."

Storey, another of Team GB's successful cyclists in 2012, admitted her surprise and delight at joining the likes of Mary Peters and Tanni Grey-Thompson in becoming a Dame.

"Just when I thought 2012 could not get any better comes the extraordinary privilege of being made a Dame in the New Year's Honours list, which is quite incredible," Storey wrote in the Daily Telegraph.

"I am very aware that this honour also reflects on the Paralympic movement in Great Britain and offers further proof as to the high esteem in which Paralympians are now held."

A total of 123 awards have been handed out in the 2013 list, compared to 44 last year - meaning every British gold medallist at London 2012 has received an honour of one sort or another.

The list is perhaps notable for the list of non-sportsmen involved with the Games who have been recognised. David Tanner, Brailsford's opposite number at GB Rowing, has been knighted - along with Paul Deighton, chief executive of LOCOG.

Others on that committee, including sport director Debbie JEvans and human resources director Jean Tomlin, have also been acknowledged - while chairman Sebastian Coe, already a Lord, becomes a Companion of Honour.

Meanwhile Stella McCartney, the designer and creative force behind the Team GB athletic jerseys, has received an OBE.

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