back to top

Here Are The British Olympians Who Have Been Honoured By The Queen

Athletes including Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Lee Pearson, Katherine Grainger, Jessica Ennis-Hill, and Ellie Robinson were recognised for their success in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics.

Posted on

After Britain's greatest ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, the UK's top athletes have been recognised by the Queen on 2017's New Year's Honour List.

The UK finished second in the Olympic medal table, with 130 British athletes scooping 67 medals, including 27 gold. Meanwhile, Paralympians improved on 2012's record of 120 medals, eventually taking home 147 medals. The tally meant Britain was the first country to take home more medals at a Games immediately following one it had hosted.

Mo Farah: knighthood

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Farah will receive a knighthood for services to athletics. The 33-year-old brought home four gold medals, or a "double double". He is the most decorated athlete in British history, and currently holds nine global titles.

He previously joked he would love to be knighted as it might "get him through passport control faster".


Andy Murray: knighthood

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Murray will be knighted for his services to tennis and charity. The athlete won gold at the Rio Olympics, making him the only tennis player – male or female – to have won two Olympics singles championships. He triumphed at Wimbledon for a second time in the summer, making hims only the second Briton to achieve two wins since Fred Perry in 1935. He's currently ranked World Number No.1.

He has played numerous matches in aid of charity, notably raising money for cancer. He is a founding member of the Malaria No More UK Leadership Council, launching a charity of the same name in 2009.

Speaking to the BBC last month, Murray said he was "too young" for a knighthood. "Obviously it is the highest honour you can get in this country," he said. "I don't know, I feel too young for something like that."

Lee Pearson: knighthood

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

Pearson will be knighted for his services to equestrianism. The 42-year-old is an 11-times Paralympic games gold medallist, winning one gold and one silver at the Rio Games this summer.

He first entered the public sphere as a child, when then-prime minister carried him up the stairs of 10 Downing Street after he was awarded a 'Children of Courage' award aged six. He was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, which shortens the muscles and can make movement difficult.

Katherine Grainger: damehood.

Murad Sezer / Reuters

Grainger (on the right) will be knighted for services to rowing and charity. She became Britain's most decorated female athlete after triumphing again at the Rio Games, scooping up a silver medal medal in the women's double sculls. Her medal was particularly noteworthy as she had had a two-year break from the sport and was aged 40 at the time.

Grainger, 41, is also a board member of the charity International Inspiration, promoting access to sport for low-income families with children.

Jessica Ennis-Hill: damehood

Hannah Mckay / Reuters

Ennis-Hill, 30, will be honoured for her services to athleticism. Now retired, she was the 2012 Olympic champion and won three world championships during her time as a multi-event field competitor.


Jason and Laura Kenny: CBEs

Matthew Childs / Reuters

Affectionately nicknamed the "golden couple" after the Rio Games, the pair will become CBEs for services to cycling.

Laura Kenny (nee Trott) is the most successful cyclist in Olympic history, with four gold medals to her name. At just 24 years old, she's also the most successful British female Olympic athlete in any sport.

Her husband Jason, 28, holds six gold medals in total (placing him joint first for British athletes, alongside now-retired cyclist Chris Hoy). He won four of his golds in Rio this year.

Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh: OBE and MBE, respectively

Lynne Cameron / Getty Images

Another couple recently triumphing in the Olympic Games. Kate, 36, currently captain of the UK women's hockey team, will receive an OBE for services to hockey. Her wife of three years Helen, 35, will be made an MBE for services to hockey.

The pair became the first same-sex couple to win a gold together, after they represented the UK on the same team in the Rio Olympics. Prior to the Games, Kate told the Daily Telegraph she hoped there would be "thousands more" same-sex couples competing in the Olympics in years to come.

Ellie Robinson: MBE

Reuters Staff / Reuters

Just 15 years old, Robinson won her first gold, and a bronze, at the Rio Paralympics this summer. Earlier this month she was awarded BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year. The swimmer was diagnosed with Perthes hip disease in 2012, and as a result has to undergo daily physiotherapy.

Max Whitlock: MBE

Hannah Mckay / Reuters

Witlock, 23, will receive an MBE for services to gymnastics. He became the first British gymnast to win an individual gold at the Rio Games competing in the individual floor exercise, following up his success – just two hours later – with another gold medal at the individual pommel horse event.

All-in-all, he's won two golds and three bronzes over the course of two Olympic Games.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.