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Olympians and Paralympians recognised for Tokyo success in New Year Honours list

Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic champions have received yet another accolade after being recognised in the 2022 New Year Honours list.

A total of 17 athletes who topped the podium in Tokyo are to receive awards from the Queen for their contribution to swimming and diving.

Diver Tom Daley and world record-breaking swimmer Adam Peaty, who finished second and third respectively in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, plus para-swimmers Hannah Russell and Bethany Firth, are to be appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Daley won Olympic gold in the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform alongside Matty Lee, who himself is named an MBE, and is to receive the honour for his services to diving, to LGBTQ+ rights and his charity work.

Peaty became the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title when he triumphed in the 100m Breaststroke.

He said: “It’s an honour to be recognised amongst so many great people.

“2021 has been a year like no other for me in many ways with so many fantastic experiences.

“After a challenging couple of years it was amazing to see the hard work and dedication of our team pay off in Tokyo and it’s even more special for me to be able to share this moment with my teammates and friends who are also on the New Year’s Honours List.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be honoured with an OBE. Through sport, I hope I can continue to inspire people to push themselves whilst also making my country proud.”

Firth won her third consecutive Paralympic gold in the S14 100m Backstroke, while Russell also defended her Paralympic title when she topped the podium in the S12 100m Backstroke.

Russell said: “What a year 2021 has been.

Incredible honour

“From training in my back garden, swimming in a static hydro pool to arriving in Tokyo, in the best shape, ready to compete at my third Paralympic Games.

“I am delighted that my achievements in 2021, including defending my 100m backstroke title, have been recognised. To be awarded an OBE is an honour.

“I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate it to my family, close friends and coaches and support staff at British Para-Swimming, who have provided me with endless guidance and support.”

British Swimming’s Chris Spice will also receive an OBE for his services to swimming and high performance sport.

Having been national performance director since 2013, he oversaw British Swimming’s most successful ever Olympic campaign at Tokyo 2020.

Spice said: “This is an incredible honour and I am extremely proud to have led our swimming team to such success in recent years, culminating in our best Olympics in history in Tokyo.

“I would like to thank our amazing athletes, coaches and support staff for a truly extraordinary time since coming into this job in 2013.

“We have built a team that not only believes we can win but supports each other in and out of the water whatever the outcome. Your excellence, dedication and comradery is second to none.

“A leader is only as good as the team around them and I would like to thank my exceptional leadership team – Bill Furniss, Tim Jones, Dawn Peart, Adam Clarke, Tina Ryan, Matt Ashman and Sarah Gilmore – in accepting this honour as without your wisdom, patience and unwavering commitment to performance and winning in the right way, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today.”

Services to swimming

The remaining gold medallists from the Olympic and Paralympic teams are all to be named Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to swimming.

Tom Dean was Britain’s other individual gold medallist in Japan as he edged out his team-mate Duncan Scott to win the 200m Freestyle.

All members of the relay teams which triumphed at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre are also honoured.

The Mixed Medley Relay squad of Kathleen Dawson, Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin set a new world record as they celebrated victory – with Freya Anderson swimming in the heats session.

Dean, Scott and Guy, along with Matt Richards and heat swimmer Calum Jarvis, were also victorious in the Men’s 200m Freestyle relay.

Four other para-swimmers will also be making the trip to Buckingham Palace to receive their MBEs.

Reece Dunn returned from his debut Paralympics with three golds.

He won both the S14 200m Freestyle and the SM14 200m Individual Medley and was part of the victorious Mixed S14 4x100m Freestyle relay team, which also included fellow MBE recipient Jordan Catchpole, Firth and Jessica-Jane Applegate, who was made an MBE in 2013.

Fully deserved

Maisie Summers-Newton became a double Paralympic champion on her first appearance at the Games as she won gold in the SM6 200m Individual Medley and the SB6 100m Breaststroke.

Tully Kearney was also a double medallist in Japan, winning gold in the S5 100m Freestyle and silver in the 200m race.

Meanwhile, Olympian Steve Parry, who won bronze in the 200m Butterfly at the 2004 Athens Games, is also awarded an MBE.

Parry was part of the BBC 5 Live commentary team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and is also a leading campaigner on improving school swimming provision.

Anya Francis has also received an MBE in the list for services to young people in Durham through swimming.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “It’s impressive to see so many people associated with our sports being recognised for their achievements in the New Year’s Honours list.

“From unsung heroes who willingly give their time to help others to the elite athletes who are an inspiration to us all and enjoyed such a successful summer, these honours are fully deserved.

“Congratulations to everyone.”