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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December 2004, 00:01 GMT
Olympians head New Year Honours
Kelly Holmes
Britain's Olympians dominated the New Year Honours List after a golden Games in Athens earlier this year.

Kelly Holmes led the way by being made a dame following her double Olympic triumph on the track in Greece.

Tanni Grey Thompson, the most successful British Paralympian of all time, was also made a dame.

Matthew Pinsent received a knighthood after winning his fourth Olympic gold in as many Games, while the rest of his coxless four were recognised.

The honour for Holmes, who earlier this month was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, capped an astonishing year for the middle-distance runner.

The 34-year-old won gold in the 1500m and 800m in a historic double after years of struggling with injury.

She said it was amazing that "a girl who was brought up in a humble council house could be made Dame Kelly Holmes".

Matthew Pinsent
I'm delighted so many rowers are yet again among the recipients
Four-time Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent

Pinsent, meanwhile, retired from sport after winning his fourth successive Olympic gold.

He said: "I am delighted that so many rowers are yet again among the recipients but, of course, personally I am overjoyed that I have been knighted."

Fellow gold-medal winner James Cracknell was appointed an OBE, while Ed Coode and Steve Williams both received MBEs.

Grey Thompson was given her honour after taking her tally to 11 golds at this year's Paralympics with victory in the T53 100m and 400m.

The 35-year-old, however, has ruled out any more Paralympic efforts but said she still planned to compete for another year.

Jason Gardener
Most people believed it was an impossible task
Olympic sprint gold medallist Jason Gardener

Of her award, she said: "'Dame Tanni'... that sounds pretty cool. My dad Peter got pretty emotional when he heard what my new title would be."

Other track athletes celebrating after Athens were Britain's men's 4x100m relay team. Jason Gardener, Marlon Devonish, Darren Campbell and Mark Lewis-Francis were all appointed MBEs.

And Gardener said: "I think this award reinforces what we did on that fantastic night in Athens for our country.

"All of us had worked very hard for a long, long time to fetch off what most people believed was an impossible task."

Britain's sailing team also made the list: there were OBEs for Ben Ainslie and team-mate Shirley Robertson, who both won their second Olympic golds in Greece.

Robertson's Yngling crew from Athens - Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb - were appointed MBEs.

Bradley Wiggins
At the end of the day, it's just sport
Three-time Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, who won three medals in Athens' Olympic velodrome, was appointed an OBE.

Another cycling gold-medal winner, Chris Hoy, received an MBE, along with equestrian gold medallist Leslie Law.

Hoy said: "It's not something you expect to happen but now that it has I'm delighted.

"I remember when my granny got an MBE as chairman of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and my mum and uncle got to go and see the ceremony. It's a real honour."

Other sporting achievements in 2004 were also rewarded.

Colin Montgomerie was recognised with an OBE after his heroics in leading Europe's Ryder Cup team to a compelling victory over the USA.

Colin Montgomerie
What I remember most about this year's Ryder Cup is how much I enjoyed being part of a great team
European Ryder Cup star
Colin Montgomerie

Football's main recipient was Aston Villa chairman Doug Ellis, who became a CBE.

And BBC sports commentator Barry Davies was another celebrating with an MBE.

Rugby featured less strongly than at the end of 2003 when England's Rugby World Cup winners were all honoured.

But there was an MBE for ex-Wales and Lions centre Bleddyn Williams.

The 81-year-old, known as the "prince of centres", captained both Cardiff and Wales to historic wins over New Zealand in just 29 days in 1953.

Wigan and Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell was appointed an MBE.

Motorsport received recognition courtesy of David Richards' CBE.

Richards, who recently stepped down as principal of Formula One team BAR, was credited for services to motorsport.

Many less well-known people were also honoured for their contribution to sport:

  • Jim Anderson, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was appointed an MBE after his heroics in the pool at the Paralympics. He won four golds.

  • Michael Brace, chairman of the British Paralympic Association, was recognised with an OBE after Team GB's impressive showing in Athens.

  • There was an OBE for Lee Pearson, from Leek in Staffordshire, for services to equestrianism and disabled sport.

    Interview: Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent

    Interview: Paralympic champion Tanni Grey Thompson

    Interview: Olympic champion James Cracknell

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