Paralympic star Giles Long said it was a pleasant surprise to become an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
"I was surprised but for someone to recognise your achievements is a big thing," said the three-time Paralympic swimming gold medallist from London.
Giles was honoured along with Athens 2004 team-mate and cycling gold medallist Scotland's Aileen McGlynn.
Commonwealth bowls champion Ruth Small and Harold Sharpe also become MBEs for services to disability sport.
Giles claimed his seventh Paralympic medal in Athens, adding bronze in the S8 100m butterfly to his two past individual golds in the event as well as his two relay silvers and bronze.
The 29-year-old admitted it was a special honour to be just one of two athletes from the Athens squad to be honoured by the Queen.
"It's fantastic to be recognised but this is something I've worked hard for and I've loved doing," Long told BBC Sport.
"The Paralympics has a special place in my heart and, as well as being a prestigious sporting occasion, it has an incredible social context in terms of educating people about disability.
"In a way it's a shame there aren't more of us but it's good that there are two."
Cycling gold medallist McGlynn has also been made an MBE
Long is now already focusing on winning more medals at the IPC World Swimming Championships in South Africa next December.
In the meantime, he is busy planning a small celebration before he goes to Buckingham Palace to be appointed an MBE next year.
"The championships are still a long way off but there's lots of preparation to do," said Long.
"Right now, I don't really know how I feel about becoming an MBE but obviously I'm over the moon and delighted."
McGlynn set a new world record as she won Britain's first gold medal of the Athens Paralympics in the 1km tandem time trial alongside pilot Ellen Hunter.
Sharpe from Milton Keynes is head coach of the special needs unit gymnasts.
Small claimed gold for England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games winning the women's singles blind final at the age of 71.