The world’s best athletes are knighted by Queen Elizabeth II – NBC10 Philadelphia
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday after a 70-year reign in which, among her many duties, she often paid tribute to Britain’s rich sporting culture.
One of the greatest honors an athlete can receive is to be awarded a knighthood for their contributions to the world of sport. Knights have been awarded to men and women (Damehood) from many different sports. From football to tennis to swimming, many athletes have added “sir” or “lady” to their names.
Here are some athletes who have been knighted by Elizabeth II since her ascension to the throne:
10: Sir Alastair Cook – Cricket
In 2018, Alastair Cook was officially awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth for his services to cricket. He was the first English cricketer to receive a knighthood since Sir Ian Botham in 2007 and the 11th player to receive the honor for his services to English cricket.
9: Sir Mo Farah – Athletics
Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 2017 for his services to athletics.
The world champion said being knighted was “an incredible honour” from the country that has been his home since he was eight years old.
8: Kenny Dalglish – Soccer
Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish was knighted on the Queen’s birthday in 2018.
The 71-year-old former Celtic and Liverpool player and manager has been honored for his service to football, charity and the city of Liverpool.
7: Dame Ellen MacArthur – Veil
Ellen MacArthur received her title of dame (the female equivalent of a knight) in 2005 after setting a world record for the fastest non-stop solo voyage around the world on her first attempt.
At 28, when MacArthur received this honor, she became the youngest to be named a dame.
6. Sir Jason and Laura Kenny – Cycling
Olympic cycling legends Laura and Jason Kenny received their knighthood and ladyship from Queen Elizabeth in 2022 for their services to cycling.
Laura is Britain’s most successful Olympian of all time, winning five gold medals at three Olympics and Jason is a seven-time Olympic gold medalist. The married couple has won 15 Olympic medals between them.
5: Pele – Football
Pelé received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1997. As a Brazilian citizen, he was not eligible to receive a true knighthood. The footballing legend cannot use the title ‘Sir’ until he becomes a British citizen – at which point honorary knighthood would then become substantive knighthood.
4: Sir Alex Ferguson – Soccer
Throughout the year, Ferguson earned a reputation as one of the best managers in English football history. And he holds a special place in the heart of every Manchester United fan.
He was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1995 and knighted in 1999.
Ferguson has been named Premier League Manager of the Year 11 times.
3: Sir Bradley Wiggins – Cycling
Bradley Wiggins, who won gold at the 2012 London Olympics and became Britain’s first Tour de France winner, was knighted in 2013 for his services to cycling.
Wiggins is a five-time Olympic champion and seven-time medalist across four Games, and is tied with fellow cyclist Chris Hoy for the most Olympic medals won by a British athlete.
2: Sir Andy Murray – Tennis
Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray was knighted in 2017 after his second Wimbledon win and second Olympic gold medal.
The tennis legend received the honor from Prince Charles at an investiture ceremony in 2019.
1: Sir Lewis Hamilton – Motorsports
Lewis Hamilton is one of the most recent athletes to be honored with a knighthood. Lewis was knighted in 2020 after equaling Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 world championship titles.
He was knighted by the Prince of Wales, becoming the fourth F1 driver to receive the honor after Sir Jackie Stewart in 2001, Sir Stirling Moss in 2000 and Sir Jack Brabham in 1979.