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

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: Sir Alastair Cook with his knighthood following an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on February 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 14: Four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah poses after receiving his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on November 14, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jonathan Brady – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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

Scottish football club Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish (L) holds up his medal as he poses for a photo with his wife Marina, after being knighted as Knights Bachelor (Knighthood) during an investiture ceremony at the Buckingham Palace, London, on November 16, 2018, for services to football, charity and the city of Liverpool. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/POOL/AFP) (Photo credit should read JONATHAN BRADY/AFP via Getty Images)

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

Isle of Wight sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur, who broke all solo round the world records, with her Dame Commander medal. (Photo by Fiona Hanson – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

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 champion cyclists Laura Kenny (R) and Jason Kenny (L) pose with their medals after being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to cycling during an investiture ceremony at the Buckingham Palace in London on April 25, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / John Stillwell (Photo credit should read JOHN STILLWELL/AFP via Getty Images)

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

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 10: Sir Bradley Wiggins CBE holds his knighthood award after it was presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on December 10, 2013 in London, England . (Photo by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his girlfriend Kim Sears pose at Buckingham Palace on October 17, 2013 in London, England. Murray received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by Paul Rogers – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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

British Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton poses with his medal after being named a Knight Bachelor (Knighthood) for his services to motorsport, by Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, during an investiture ceremony at the castle Windsor in Windsor, west London, on December 15, 2021. – Lewis Hamilton received his knighthood on Wednesday as the British driver agrees to controversially lose the Formula 1 world title. (Photo by Andrew Matthews /POOL/AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MATTHEWS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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