Olympic Gold Medalists Dominate U.K. New Year’s Honors
Britain’s Olympic gold medalists dominated a New Year’s honors list that celebrated a year of sporting triumph, with Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins receiving a knighthood.
Sebastian Coe, the runner-turned-politician who delivered the London games, was named a Companion of Honor. Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey, who won four golds, was made a Dame of the British Empire, and Ben Ainslie, the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, was knighted.
In finance, Hector Sants, the former chief executive officer of the Financial Services Authority, was knighted, as was Alan Budd, who came out of retirement to set up the Office for Budget Responsibility. In culture, artist Tracey Emin and singer Kate Bush were named Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, entitling them to put CBE after their name.
In total, 1,223 people were granted civic honors in today’s biannual awards, the Cabinet Office in London said. They include community and charity workers nominated by the public as well as business leaders, public servants and entertainment stars.
Wiggins was voted the BBC Sports Personality of 2012 earlier this month. In the space of 10 days over the summer, the 32-year-old became the first British winner of the Tour de France and then took the gold medal in the London Olympic cycling time trial.
As a knight, Wiggins will be able to put “Sir” in front of his name. He will receive a medal from Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony at which she touches them on both shoulders with a sword. Storey will now be known as “Dame Sarah.”
In the case of Coe, already a member of the House of Lords and a knight, there were few honors left to give him. The title Companion of Honor, which entitles him to put the letters CH after his name, is one of the highest the Queen can bestow. There are only 65 members of the order at any time.
Joining Coe among their number is Peter Higgs, the Edinburgh University theoretical physicist who predicted the existence of the Higgs boson, a particle that could help explain how the universe is built. Scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, working on the origins of matter, said this year they discovered a particle that may support the Higgs theory.
CBEs for Olympic achievement also went to athletes Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, rower Katherine Grainger and cyclist Victoria Pendleton, with Paralympic wheelchair racer David Weir similarly honored. The performance directors of the cycling and rowing teams, Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, were knighted for their contributions to Britain’s tally of 29 Olympic golds in London, the most since 1908.
Andy Murray, who took Olympic tennis gold and then became the first British man to win a grand-slam tournament in more than 70 years at the U.S. Open, was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, entitling him to put the letters OBE after his name.
Stella McCartney, who designed the Olympic team’s outfits, also received an OBE.
Industry and the economy made up 12 percent of the awards. As well as Budd and Sants, David Wootton, the Lord Mayor of London, was given a knighthood. DeAnne Julius, a founding member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, who served from 1997 to 2001, was named a Dame for her work as chairwoman of the Chatham House international-affairs institute. Tim Breedon, former CEO of Legal & General Group Plc (LGEN), was named a CBE.
Martha Lane Fox, founder of Lastminute.com Ltd., was given a CBE for her work on the digital economy.
Quentin Blake, the children’s illustrator who gave form to Roald Dahl’s creations, also received a knighthood. Ian Livingstone, who helped create new types of game when he co- wrote the “Fighting Fantasy” books and co-founded Games Workshop Group Plc (GAW), was given a CBE. He is life president of Eidos Plc, maker of the “Tomb Raider” games.
Ewan McGregor, who played the heroin-addicted Renton in “Trainspotting” and Obi-Wan Kenobi in episodes one to three of the “Star Wars” franchise, was given an OBE. Jeremy Lloyd, co- creator of the “Are You Being Served?” and “Allo! Allo!” television comedy series, was given an OBE.
Two of Britain’s spy chiefs were given knighthoods, Jonathan Evans, the director-general of the Security Service, generally known as MI5, and Ian Lobban, director of Government Communications Headquarters, responsible for keeping Britain’s communications secure and intercepting those of other countries.
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, was also knighted. He is currently under pressure over allegations that one or more of his officers conspired to force the resignation of government minister Andrew Mitchell in October.
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