To Britain’s most decorated sporting couple went another level of distinction last night.
To the footballers who took England to the final at the European Championship, further recognition will need to be found outside of the New Year’s honours list.
It is the norm in Paralympic and Olympic years that most recipients are sourced from these pursuits. The sporting list consisting of 99 was led by Laura Kenny and Jason Kenny who were married bicyclists for Team GB and have been made Dame and Sir.
Jason Kenny and Laura Kenny, married Team GB bicyclists have been made Sir/Dame
This follows the latest success on the largest stage with Jason (33), claiming his 7th Olympic gold in the Keirin at Games in Tokyo and Laura (29), securing her 5th via the madison.
They have achieved their goal of 2021 to build a clock made out of Olympic gold-medalled time. Additionally, the couple is the first to be knighted and damed in the same list.
In a joint statement, the couple said: ‘To be included on the New Year’s honours list alongside such esteemed company is something we are both so very humbled by and also very proud of.
‘We have both been very lucky to be able to do a job we both love and there is a whole team of people behind us that make it possible for us to compete at the highest level. We are grateful and thankful to all of them.’
They are the first couple to be knighted and dame in the same order.
Although it is difficult to argue the merits and benefits of awarding titles to athletes, this new layer of recognition is a great deal for the cyclists who are the fourth-most successful British Olympians. They are unrivalled as a pair in sport.
If the Kennys have been toasted for the continuation of a remarkable body of work, the year’s most startling individual conquest was also recognised in the form of an MBE for Emma Raducanu, 19.
This came 12 days after her win at September’s US Open, when she was awarded BBC Sports Personality the Year. British sport has not seen such a remarkable breakthrough.
Emma Raducanu (19 years old) has been given an MBE to commemorate her amazing win at US Open
Across the list, there were 78 Olympians and Paralympians honoured for their services to sport — one for every gold medallist not previously honoured, and a number of coaches.
OBEs were given to the Tokyo gold medallists Adam Peaty & Tom Daley for their successes in the pool. Tom Daley was also acknowledged for helping raise awareness about LGBT issues.
Daley’s performance in taking 10m synchro diving gold with his partner Matty Lee — himself now an MBE — at his fourth Games was one of the tales of the sporting year.
Adam Peaty was the Tokyo gold medallist. He received an OBE in recognition of his achievements in the pool.
Tom Daley also won an OBE to acknowledge his efforts in Tokyo Gold, raising awareness on LGBT issues and promoting tolerance
Hannah Mills was awarded an OBE after she won her second Tokyo sailing gold medal. She has been a long-standing campaigner against marine pollution.
Hannah Cockroft, a seven-time Paralympic gold medallist, was also given an OBE. Jody Cundy (43), was awarded a CBE. He added five para-cycling and para-swimming Golds to his Games career that began in 1996.
Kadeena cox was awarded an OBE and a CBE to Stephen Park (British Cycling performance director), for her achievements in paralympic cycling and athletics. The list included nine additional members from the British Olympic Cycling programme, in addition to the Kennys and Park.
Hannah Mills took her second sailing gold medal in Tokyo and has long campaigned against marine pollution
Park said: ‘Not only are Jason and Laura true masters of their craft, they are also wonderful team-mates, role models and ambassadors for our sport. I’m delighted their remarkable performances have been recognised in the honours list and they should both be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.’
Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes received an OBE for their domestic treble and her work promoting women’s football. It was perhaps a surprise, meanwhile, that of the cohort that took England to the Euro 2020 final, only Gareth Southgate’s assistant Steve Holland made the list.
He was awarded an MBE but, despite making it to the first major final in 1966, none of his squad members were featured.
Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes received an OBE for the club’s domestic treble