Sir David Brailsford, Jason Kenny OBE and Joanna Rowsell MBE have officially received their honours from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of their contribution to British cycling’s greatest year.
Brailsford received his knighthood after masterminding Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory as Team Sky boss, before reverting to his role as British Cycling’s performance director to oversee Team GB’s dominance at London 2012.
“I’m honoured,” said Brailsford. “It means so much and is such a humbling experience. I’m very proud.”
He added: “I’ve been involved in cycling for most of my life, and in the last few years British Cycling and Team Sky have really progressed and helped make the sport more mainstream here in the UK.
“I’m here on behalf of the sport – what the riders, the backroom staff, and our partners have helped achieve. We’ve all contributed to the progression of cycling and I’m the lucky person who’s here to represent all that.”
Kenny, meanwhile, won double gold in London in the individual sprint and, with Sir Chris Hoy and Philip Hindes, in the team sprint.
That took Kenny’s gold medal tally to three after the 24-year-old won team sprint gold in Beijing with Hoy and Jamie Staff – but the Bolton-born rider admits meeting the Queen was more nerve-wracking than lining up in an Olympic final.
“It’s a bit surreal but amazing,” said Kenny. “The Queen said she was very happy to give me the medal, so I said ‘thank you very much’… No one compares to the Queen. I’ve been lucky enough to meet her a few times now, and you get 15 seconds.
“It’s the ultimate pressure situation. I’m not very good with words especially when the pressure’s on.”
Rowsell formed one-third of Great Britain’s women’s team pursuit trio, along with Laura Trott and Dani King, and the 24-year-old, who is now concentrating on her road career with Wiggle-Honda, posted a picture of her with her MBE medal on Twitter.
“After the Olympics I don’t think I’ll ever be nervous for anything again,” she said. “I don’t think you can ever have that level of pressure and expectation so I honestly wasn’t nervous.”
British Cycling president Brian Cookson added: “Cycling is the sport that redefined our national sporting identity last year and it was fantastic to see this recognised in the New Year Honours list.
“Sir Dave Brailsford, Jason Kenny and Joanna Rowsell’s honours are well deserved and I wish them all a memorable day.”