Theresa May gives Green Light for Olympic Gongs

Here’s a few loosely transcribed soundbites from a couple of broadcast media interviews over the last few hours about whether our golden Olympians should automatically get a Queen’s honour along with recordings of the full interviews (just click on the pictures):

Chat with talkRADIO

“I’m delighted that Teresa May has given the green light for a bumper batch of  gongs for our victorious golden girls and boys.” 

“This is what the honours system should be all about – highlighting those who have excelled in their chosen field such as eminent surgeons, academics, business leaders and of course sports people. As well as dedicated community and charity workers too, of course. Olympic gold medal winners are by definition leaders in their field and at the top of their game and should therefore be legitimately recognised by the honours system.”
“Those who suggest otherwise are implying that sporting success is somehow less important than success in other fields and that’s simply not the case. After all, we give gongs to eminent actors so why not golden Olympians? There is however a strong case for saying that our gold medal winners should also be expected to help others in one way or another and I imagine most, if not all, are naturally doing so.”
“All the Beijing Olympic gold medal winners in 2008 received a gong but not all gold medal winners from the 2012 London Olympics where as lucky, so there are no hard and fast rules.”
“If all our golden athletes are to get the royal treatment, the next logical question is what level of honour should they receive and should those with gongs already, like tennis supremo Andy Murray and cyclist Jason Kenny who both have OBE’s, automatically receive an upgrade?”

Chat with Adrian Chiles of BBC Radio 5 live

“This is where the water gets even murkier than the Rio Olympic pool. The level of honour given should be driven primarily by the geographical spread of the recipients influence. So, for example, someone operating at a local level such as a long serving scout leader or WI devotee would usually be at the lower end, whereas an eminent surgeon who has made a national or international impact as a leader in their field would tend to be at the higher end. So where does that leave our golden boys and girls? Common sense would suggest that they are leaders in their field at an international level, so does that mean they should all get a knighthood or damehood? Highly unlikely I think. More chance of an MBE. But as I say, that’s usually for people operating at a local level.”

“Furthermore, Andy Murray got one gold and Jason Kenny got three, so should Jason be upgraded to a higher honour than Andy? They both have OBE’s at the moment.”

“The Prime Minister is going to have to give some serious thought as to what level of honour is appropriate and indeed if they should all get the same level of award. It’s all a bit of a political minefield.”

“Let’s not forget Usain Bolt either. He’s surpassed everybody. In this post-Brexit era lets embrace the Commonwealth. After all, the honours system is not only open to UK citizens, anyone, from anywhere in the world can be nominated.”