UK Olympic and Paralympic athletes to get own honours list
Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes will be given their own separate honours list to ensure that there is no limit on the number of awards handed out.
Previously, the committee making recommendations for sporting honours, chaired by Lord Coe, is able to put forward one name for a knighthood, four for CBEs, 20 OBEs and 38 MBEs.
But it is understood Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to place awards arising from the London 2012 Games outside the usual system, to enable the New Year’s Honours list to reflect the scale of achievement by British athletes.
With Team GB scooping up 29 Olympic golds and the Paralympics squad so far receiving more than 100 medals, including 31 golds, there are expectations of a large amount of honours.
Cameron’s official spokesman ruled out any quotas to limit the number of honours: “Honours are awarded on merit, not according to quotas,” he said. “There are no quotas.”
Popular Olympic champions such as Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, as well as Paralympians Sarah Storey, who brought her lifetime tally of golds up to a record of 11 and Ellie Simmonds, could be recognised with a gong.
A spokesman for Mayor Boris Johnson said: “The Mayor believes Britain’s incredible gold medal haul at London 2012 is unquestionably worthy of official recognition.”
He added: “The Mayor would argue that the courage, skill and sheer determination that propelled our heroes to gold in the first place, coupled with the immeasurable legacy their stellar performances have brought to millions, more than demonstrates they’ve put something back.”
By allowing the establishment of a separate list for the London Games, Cameron avoids the potential embarrassment of seeing sporting personalities outnumbered by civil servants in the honours list in a year in which the Olympics and Paralympics have brought out the sports enthusiasts in the country.
The move is to enable the list to reflect the scale of achievement by British athletes during the 2012 games. Honours will be decided by a Whitehall committee, not the government.