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Friday, 31 December, 1999, 00:10 GMT
Daley leads treble triumph

Daley Thompson Daley Thompson's 1984 Olympic triumph capped a glorious career

Three of Britain's most successful sportsmen of the 1980s have been recognised in the New Year's Honours.

Double Olympic champion decathlete Daley Thompson has been awarded a CBE.

Another leading light of the athletics world, Steve Ovett, has been made an OBE, along with snooker legend Steve Davis.

Daley delight

Daley Thompson is rated by many experts as Britain's greatest all-round athlete.

Daley Thompson Thompson was renowned for flamboyant celebrations
He brought the multi-discipline event of decathlon to public attention, winning a string of titles, including Olympic gold in Moscow in 1980 and again in Los Angeles four years later.

He was involved in a high-profile rivalry with Germany's Harald Schmidt, which culminated in Thompson breaking the world record with a total of 8,847 points in the LA Games.

But controversy was never far away, with Thompson's laid-back, sometimes arrogant approach often landing him in hot water.

Indeed at the '84 Olympics he hit the headlines by whistling during the national anthem and wearing a series of T-shirts with outrageous comments, including one that made insinuations about US sprinter Carl Lewis' sexuality.

Having retired from the track, a flirtation with football failed after a stint in Reading's reserves, but he continues to offer specialist coaching to a variety of sportsmen.

"I'm very surprised after all these years that people still remember me," Thompson said after learning of the honour.

"I only found out about it a couple of weeks ago because the letter came to my office while I was away for two weeks coaching in Estonia."

Ovett breaks the tape

Steve Ovett was one of the foremost middle distance runners of his generation.

Steve Ovett A relieved Steve Ovett takes Olympic 800m gold
The Brighton-based athlete burst onto the sporting scene in the 1970s and went on to claim a series of major titles.

His career was dominated by his intense rivalry with fellow Briton Seb Coe as the pair broke a string of world records, each pushing the other to new heights.

With Coe cast as the golden boy of British athletics, Ovett revelled in his role as a more rebellious, petulant figure who refused to pander to the press.

The pinnacle of his career came at the Moscow Olympics, when he beat hot favourite Coe in the 800m final, before settling for bronze behind his team-mate in his specialist discipline, the 1500m.

An attempt to repeat Olympic success in 1984 came to a tearful end when he suffered a recurrence of a long-standing injury in the 1500m.

After hanging up his spikes, Ovett entered the media world as a TV commentator and is an athletics administrator.

'Interesting' honour

Steve Davis dominated snooker in the 1980s when, at the height of the sport's popularity, he became a household name.

Steve Davis Steve Davis: The face of snooker in the 1980s
Immortalised by satirical TV show Spitting Image, he was labelled Steve 'Interesting' Davis, in sarcastic reference to a perceived lack of personality.

But while charismatic rivals like Alex Higgins and Jimmy White won the public adulation, Davis was busy winning six world titles.

He took the jibes with good humour and since being eclisped by Stephen Hendry in the last decade, the 42-year-old has become one of the game's elder statesmen and still plies his trade on the green beize.

"I suppose this OBE is re-confirmation of my status as an ambassador for snooker," he said.

"Not that I'm thinking of retiring just yet. I intend carrying on until they sack me."

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