BRADLEY Wiggins, the Mod from Kilburn who made sporting history by winning the Tour de France and an Olympic gold this year, is knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours.
Sir Bradley heads a sparkling list of sporting heroes, including sailor Ben Ainslie, who gets a knighthood, para-cyclist Sarah Storey, who is made a dame, and Jess Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Mo Farah and David Weir, who all get CBEs.
Affectionately known as Wiggo, the first British winner of the Tour 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.”
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year added: “There was never any doubt whether I’d accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a sir, and I probably never will.”
The galaxy of sporting stars who achieved so much during London 2012 meant that a special honours list was added this year.
But there was also recognition for the people who made the games such a success, from Lord Coe, who becomes a Companion of Honour (CH), to Jean Tomlin, who was in charge of the Games Maker programme and gets an OBE.
Away from sport, the main list includes a knighthood for illustrator Quentin Blake and CBEs for artist Tracey Emin and choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips.
Actor Ewan McGregor gets an OBE, while former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash gets an MBE. A CBE also goes to UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, as well as actor-turned-politician Michael Cashman MEP, best known for his role as Colin Russell in EastEnders – a participant in the first gay kiss in a British soap opera.
A total of 1,223 people were recommended to the Queen for an award, 1,068 at the level of MBE, OBE and BEM – the British Empire Medal, which was reintroduced after 20 years in 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Women make up 47 per cent of the total list, which includes 13 dames.
Awards for sport make up 10 per cent of the total honours, with a special London 2012 and Paralympic Games list created to recognise the nation’s sportsmen and women.
Dame Sarah is honoured for services to para-cycling after winning four gold medals at London 2012. With a Paralympic gold medal total of 11, Storey, who is expecting her first child, equals Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts as one of the country’s most successful Paralympians.
Storey, 35, said: “Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud to be able to accept the DBE. I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success, I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself.”
Knighthoods also go to sailor Ben Ainslie, whose success at the 2012 Games made him the most decorated sailor in Olympic history with four gold medals at four consecutive Games, and Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, performance directors at British Cycling and British Rowing.
CBEs go to some of Britain’s biggest sporting household names – rower Katherine Grainger, heptathlete and London 2012 poster girl Jess Ennis, cyclist Victoria Pendleton, and wheelchair athlete David Weir. Joining their ranks with his first honour is athlete Mo Farah, who captured the nation’s hearts with his double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.
OBEs go to equestrian Sophie Christiansen, Great Britain’s first triple gold medal winner of Paralympics 2012, as well as fellow equestrian Charlotte Dujardin, tennis hero Andy Murray, Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and cycling couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny.
Among those to get MBEs in the 2013 sporting list are boxer Nicola Adams; canoeist Timothy Baillie; equestrians Laura Bechtolsheimer and Carl Hester; rowers Katherine Copeland and Helen Glover; wheelchair racer “Hurricane” Hannah Cockcroft; and paralympic swimmer Josef Craig. Triathlete Alistair Brownlee, who took gold in the summer, also gets an MBE.
Also getting the MBE is Welsh Tae Kwon Do gold medallist Jade Jones; boxer Anthony Joshua; Paralympic poster boy Jonnie Peacock; long jump hero Greg Rutherford and gymnast and Strictly Come Dancing winner Louis Smith.
The honours do not only recognise Olympians, Paralympians and their coaches, but also those who contributed to London 2012 in a “non-sporting capacity”.
One notable name missing from the roll is Danny Boyle, who created the epic Olympic opening ceremony. The Trainspotting director is believed to have turned down an honour.
A GBE (Knight Grand Cross) goes to Locog deputy chair Sir Keith Mills; a KBE (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) to chief executive Paul Deighton, and CBEs to Neale Coleman, director of London 2012 for the Greater London Authority, and Locog director of sport Deborah Jevans.