Medal Muddle

King BradleyWhen Bradley Wiggins sat on the gold medallist’s ‘throne’ after winning the Olympic cycling time trial, I thought that he was being ironic and not in any way suggesting that he should be in the running a knighthood.

But it seems I might have been wrong, at least if the media is to be believed. Apparently our 100 plus medallists are going to be terribly upset if there isn’t a gong for each forthcoming in the New Year’s honours list.

Of course sportsmen didn’t used to get honours – they were the preserve of the great and the not so good, politicians, diplomats, senior civil servants and the like. Then the great and the not so good realised there was kudos to be had by sharing the prizes with popular heroes.

The really important gongs used to be reserved for the sporting greats long after they had retired – people like Bobby Charlton, Henry Cooper, Roger Bannister and Mary Peters – but things began to go awry when the politicians wanted to cash in on immediate popularity.

A knighthood for Chris Hoy after the Beijing Olympics was a typical New Labour populist ploy. The problem was that it was clear that Sir Chris was still competing and would be at London 2012, so what if he then performed even greater athletic feats?

But politicians don’t worry about things like that, filing them in the cabinet marked SEP.

The question though is why are we getting so het up about honours for medallists? Surely a gold, silver or bronze medal is their ultimate accolade, not a string of letters they can add to their names on their stationary.

I suppose the acid test would be to propose an exchange of medals for honours – one gold for an MBE up to five golds for knighthood. Seems fair to me, but I suspect the Olympians wouldn’t agree to the deal.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Emperor Pudding 21st August 2012

    Will they be giving out honours to bloggers? If so I’d like to nominate you for a knighthood – Sir Shooting Parrots has a nice ring to it. Of course Earl John Gray is already an earl and I’d like to nominate Roger Green for a well-deserved K.U.A. and Robert Brague for a B.M. (Big Mac). Trevor Rowley should get a C.P. C. (Cycling Proficiency Certificate). Personally I’ll be happy with the Isle of Wight where I’ll live at Osborne House in regal splendour surrounded by Yorkshire terriers and pictures of Dickie Bird.

  • Cro Magnon 21st August 2012

    Lord Hoy perhaps? My diplomat father-in-law had a gong; but then they all do. It’s to make up for their often dangerous postings, and desultory salaries.

  • Roger Green 21st August 2012

    SP for knighthood! Those Olympic hooligans can wait a few decades.

  • Mr Parrot 21st August 2012

    To get a knighthood, I would have to go back through my posts to eradicate any that reveal my republican sympathies!

    But I was thinking about the swapsies idea and it might just work. If Cameron and Clegg could get their hands on a gold medal they could pretend they won them fair and square, just like good old Uncle Jeffrey Archers.


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