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  Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:00 GMT
Redgrave: First Knight of the Olympics
Steve Redgrave shows off his fifth gold
Arise Sir Steve - proud owner of five Olympic golds
Steve Redgrave, Britain's record-breaking Olympian, has capped an extraordinary career with a knighthood in the New Year's Honours list.

Redgrave captured the hearts of millions in 2000 when he claimed his fifth successive Olympic gold medal.

It was an achievement that made him Britain's most successful Olympian of all time, and means he is now "Sir Steven".

He said: "I am absolutely delighted. No one starts sport for fame or fortune, they do it because they stumble across it and get a lot of pleasure from it and from there things lead on.

"Having gone through the heights of the Olympic games five times and picking up honours along the way, it's now finished with a knighthood - it's unbelievable. It's not something I dreamt about.

"I never really thought about the honours bestowed on you along the way, but it's nice when it happens."

Steve Redgrave and BBC personality award
Redgrave's hands on the BBC award
The Marlow-born 38-year-old decided to hang up his oars on his return from Sydney.

This time he meant it, having earlier "retired" in 1996.

The first endurance competitor of any nationality to win gold in five Games, Redgrave has had an award-winning post-Sydney period.

Named Sportsman of the Year by the Sports Writers' Association he was also voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year by the British public.

Redgrave's illustrious career spanned more than 20 years.

He made his international debut at the World Junior Championships in 1979 and won his first medal at this competition a year later.

His first major title was, appropriately Olympic gold in 1984, as a member of the coxed four.

  Redgrave's record
Nine World Championship titles
Three Commonwealth winners medals
Five Olympic golds
Two world championships followed, in a pair with Andy Holmes in 1986 and 1987.

And Redgrave also won three Commwealth Games golds in 1986.

But it was in Seoul in 1988 when Steve Redgrave started to earn real fame and respect from the British public.

He and Holmes raced to victory in the coxless pair and picked up a bronze in the coxed discipline.

Despite their success Redgrave and Holmes split for 1989.

The next partnership, with Simon Berrisford, was short-lived due to a back injury.

Steve Redgrave
Carrying the flag at the 1992 Olympics

And 1990 saw the formation of Britain's best double act since Morecambe and Wise.

Young Matthew Pinsent blended perfectly with Redgrave's experience.

The pair were world champions in 1991 before Redgrave completed his Olympic hat-trick in Barcelona in 1992.

For three years they were unbeatable on the world championship stage before an historic fourth Olympic gold for Redgrave in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

His famous "permission to shoot me" retirement speech followed but was soon retracted in favour of a new challenge for the pair.

Steve Redgrave shows off his medals
Redgrave - victorious in five Olympics

Redgrave and Pinsent were joined by Tim Foster and James Cracknell in the coxless four.

Success seemed to come easy but Redgrave was not a healthy figure despite a 1997 world championship.

The veteran of the team had already suffered from colitis and was now told he had diabetes.

This would have been a devastating blow to a lesser man but he rowed on to further triumph.

The whole remarkable story finished in Sydney with millions watching his win at midnight back home.

The future

The temptation to continue towards an ultimate Olympic record was great.

But Redgrave has always been his own man and this time his decision is final.

Family is now Redgrave's immediate priority.

But he is also keen to build on the profile he has given to a minority sport.

In his sights are a European rowing league, and ultimately a World league of supersprinting.

It is clear to all that rowing has not seen the last of Steve Redgrave.

Sir Steven Redgrave
"A very nice end to a very pleasurable year"
New Year Honours

Sporting knights

Olympic honours

Football honoured

'Services to sport'

Around the UK

The story of glory


Gold Fever: The documentary

The quartet

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