With the new year arriving one of the traditions in commonwealth countries is the new years honors list. With that, over 40 Paralympians are being recognized in the United Kingdom this weekend with Lee Pearson receiving a knighthood.
After a long and distinguished equestrian career Pearson will become Sir Lee Pearson following his fifth Paralympic Games. During that time he has won 11 Paralympic Gold Medals, the most of any being knighted in the ceremony, of Paralympian or Olympians.
The knighthood marks the fourth honor for Pearson, after receiving the three previous highest honors in recent years. Pearson is currently a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) the highest honor one can receive below a knighthood.
Three Paralympians are receiving that honor, becoming CBEs with Sophie Christansen, Sasha Kindred, and Tim Reddish all receiving a CBE. Christansen has also competed successfully in equestrian for many years, Kindred has medalled in swimming and the chairman of the British Paralympic Association (BPA), Reddish also gets honored for his years of service.
Four more Paralympians are receiving the next level down and being inducted in to the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Penny Briscoe who served as team GB’s Chef de Mission, BPA CEO Tim Hollingsworth, swimmer Anne Dunham and cyclist Jody Cundy are receiving that honor.
Outside of the United Kingdom, two other Paralympians are also being honored by their countries. Benoit Huot is receiving the order of Canada after his long service to swimming, where he won nine gold medals. In New Zealand, four athletes were awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit with athletes Anna Grimaldi and Liam Malone, cyclist Katie Horan, and swimmer Nikita Howarth all added.