Storey tops Paralympic awards

Cyclist Sarah Storey has been made a Dame and 29 British Paralympians recognised in the special New Year Honours list.

Storey, 35, has been recognised after she won four titles to equal the record of 11 Paralympic gold medals held by former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

David Weir, who also won four Paralympic gold medals at London 2012, has been awarded a CBE while 18-year-old swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who won two golds, and triple Para-dressage champion Sophie Christiansen have both received OBEs.

ParalympicsGB won a total of 120 medals, with 34 of them gold.

Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: "The recognition of our Paralympic athletes in the New Year's Honours List is a wonderful way to bring this remarkable year to a close.

"Their performances on the field of play not only received rapturous applause from the crowds at London 2012 and viewers of the TV coverage, many of whom were experiencing Paralympic sport for the first time, but the 11 days of sport that we witnessed this summer also gripped the nation and changed many peoples' perception of disability sport.

"It is fitting that so many of our gold medallists are today offered some of the highest tributes possible which reflect not only their sporting talent but also the sheer hard work and dedication that they put into preparing for their home Games. We are extremely proud of their achievements."

The sports honours committee, chaired by Lord Coe, took the unprecedented step of creating a special list to recognise the achievements of Britain's Olympians and Paralympians at the end of a stunning year for British sport.

Storey has been honoured for a Paralympic career which began as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992 and featured four Games in the pool before she switched to the bike ahead of Beijing 2008.

Awarded an OBE in 2008, Storey's dominance in the velodrome and in the road race at Brands Hatch means she now has a total of 22 Paralympic medals to her name - 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze from six Games.

"Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud to be able to accept the DBE,'' said Storey, who recently announced she was pregnant.

"I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success. I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself.

"Now to be a dame is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I cannot thank my family, friends, coaches and support staff over all the years enough for their devotion in helping me to follow the path of becoming the best athlete I can possibly be.''

Storey won Britain's first gold of the Paralympic Games and Weir won the last with his victory in the marathon in front of Buckingham Palace. Together they carried the flag at the Paralympics closing ceremony.

Weir led the athletics team to a series of stirring triumphs, including for amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock, who won the blue riband event of the Games, the T44 100metres, ahead of the likes of Oscar Pistorius.

Peacock is awarded an MBE, as are fellow athletes Richard Whitehead, Aled Davies, Mickey Bushell, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies and Josie Pearson, who all won Paralympic gold to send a capacity 80,000 Olympic Stadium crowd into raptures.

Simmonds was once again the darling of the Games, dealing with the expectation and her image staring down on all entering the Olympic Park from the Westfield Shopping Centre, by taking two titles before her 18th birthday, four years after two wins as a 13-year-old.

Simmonds is awarded an OBE, an honour also bestowed upon Christiansen, who won three equestrian gold medals in Greenwich.

Natasha Baker won two para-equestrian titles and is awarded an MBE along with Christiansen's team-mates in the team championship Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells.

Ten-time Paralympic champion Lee Pearson, the fourth member of the winning quartet, did not receive an honour, having been made an MBE following the 2008 Games. Storey's husband Barney also did not make the list, despite claiming his third Paralympic title in London.

His tandem partner Neil Fachie was awarded an MBE, as was tandem pilot rider Craig MacLean, who won an Olympic medal in Sydney in 2000 and piloted Anthony Kappes to gold in London.

Like Barney Storey, Kappes was not honoured this time around.

Road cyclist David Stone won road race gold at Brands Hatch, but also missed out on a fresh honour, having already been made an MBE.

All other London 2012 gold medal winners were honoured, with boccia player Nigel Murray given an MBE for his long and distinguished career which has featured two Paralympic titles and bronze in London.