Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 18:46 UK

British athletes 'to get honours'

The prime minister praised the athletes' spectacular successes

The honours system will recognise the achievements of Britain's successful Olympic team, Gordon Brown has said.

Mr Brown is in Beijing where he will attend the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games on Sunday.

The British Olympic team has had its most successful Games in 100 years, with a tally of 19 gold medals.

Mr Brown said London 2012 would be different from the Beijing event but insisted that it would still be a spectacular world event.

Good luck message

The prime minister is taking part in a series of interviews while in China for the final days of the Games.

Mr Brown suggested Britain's medal winners, including Scotland's triple gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy, and double gold-winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington, would receive honours.

He told the BBC: "It is not for me to make these decisions but there have been such spectacular successes that the honours system is bound to recognise them and will do."

Mr Brown was in the crowd to watch British teenage diver Tom Daley, from Plymouth, finish seventh in the 10-metre platform final in the Water Cube.

It [London] will be a different Olympics, an Olympics which will try to reach out to more and more people throughout the world
Gordon Brown

The prime minister had sent the 14-year-old a good luck message before he competed.

It came on a day when London boxer James DeGale won Britain's latest gold medal of the Games, in the middleweight division.

Mr Brown will be joined by London Mayor Boris Johnson at the closing ceremony where the Olympic flag will be handed over to London for the 2012 Games.

England footballer David Beckham, who will also take part in the ceremony, said how much he was looking forward to the London Olympics.

"I'm an East End boy and I'm proud that it's happening in London. I was very proud to be involved in the first place bringing it back to England and to London," he said.

"It's going to generate so much interest in sport and kids are already getting excited about it.

"We have seen what the Chinese have done here and I'm sure we will better that, without a doubt."

Sporting achievements

The Cabinet Office, which governs the honours system, said the sports honours committee was due to meet in September.

A spokeswoman said: "It will consider the results of the Olympics and Paralympics as well as other achievements in the wider sporting world over the past year."

The New Year's Honours list is announced at the end of December.

In the past, almost all Olympic gold medal winners have been have been awarded an MBE as a minimum.

A Downing Street reception will be held for Britain's Olympians when they return to the UK.

Mr Brown said the government would be investing in London's 2012 Olympics.

"It will be a different Olympics, an Olympics which will try to reach out to more and more people throughout the world," he said.

"And as we move up to it we want more and more young people in Britain interested in sport, and that is why we will be investing more in sport in our schools, as well as for our elite athletes."

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said he is "absolutely determined" the 2012 Olympics will cost less than the current 9.3bn budget.

The mayor said British and London taxpayers would "not pay a penny more".


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