Honours for our riders in Queen's New Year list
last updated on December 31, 2016 15:12
Our Olympic and Paralympic dressage medallists have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list including a knighthood for Lee Pearson, Charlotte Dujardin and Sophie Christiansen are both now CBEs while Anne Dunham receives an OBE. Huge congratulations to them all!
Lee holds an impressive tally of 37 championships medals which had a further gold and silver added from Rio this summer. He was also voted to be the Paralympics GB flag bearer at the opening ceremony so this honour crowns an extraordinary year for the Staffordshire rider. Lee was first recognised in 2001 with an MBE which was followed by an OBE in 2005 and then CBE in 2009. He’s joined by Andy Murray and Mo Farah while Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katherine Granger received dame hoods.
An excited Lee said; “It’s just surreal! I’ve known for about a month and a half and told close family but now I can have an extra special New Year’s Eve. I’m truly humbled to be recognised like this; previously it’s just been a case of adding letters after my name, now I have to completely change it! People have been so generous with their messages – I’ve had thousands and I’m grateful for all of them. I’m still in shock, it’s going to take time to get my head around it; I keep asking myself ‘why me’ but friends have said ‘well, look at what you’ve done’ but I don’t look back, only forward! I’ll still be just Lee…but will be happy if anyone wants to call me Sir Lee!”
Sophie Christian matched her Paralympic triple gold haul in London with her new ride in Rio, Di Redfern’s Athene Lindebjerg to bring her Paralympic medal tally to ten, eight gold. Just days ago she finished fifth in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year – top female and top para athlete – so her CBE crowns a stellar year.
Charlotte Dujardin made history in Rio in becoming the first ever female athlete to successfully defend a gold medal when she won Freestyle gold with Carl Hester, Roly Luard and Anne Barrott’s Valegro. Her historic double gold performance in London was recognised with an OBE so the CBE is fitting recognition for this year’s Olympic achievement, her gold was the icing on the cake following a hard-fought team silver.
Anne Dunham has competed at five of the last six Paralympic Games and was part of the gold medal team at every one including Rio. She also scooped two individual silvers behind Sophie Christiansen with the Lady Joseph Trust’s LJT Lucas Normark to bring her Paralympic medal total to ten. Her MBE came in 2009 and the promotion to OBE is just reward for a career spanning over 20 years for the rider who celebrated her 68th birthday in September.
British Dressage Chief Executive Jason Brautigam commented; “Congratulations to our four tremendous riders. It’s great to see them recognised in such a prestigious way; for Lee to be one of only three sporting knighthoods is testament to his consistency and dedication to the sport. Charlotte and Sophie were phenomenal in Rio while Anne’s longevity and dependability is unequalled. We’re very proud of them all and the inspiration they provide to every rider out there.”
Show jumping rider Nick Skelton was also recognised with a CBE following his emotional individual gold in Rio with Big Star and British Dressage would like to extend congratulations to him and his team.