Now here\’s a problem: what do we do with Sir Chris Hoy?

The general rule is that a gold medal advances you one step in the Order of the British Empire.

So, one gold (or perhaps, any number of golds at one Olympics) gets the MBE.

Do it again next time, OBE.

Wiggo already has the CBE, so his gold this time probably means a KB.

For it seems that past the CBE it goes to KB, not KBE.

Chris Hoy already has the KB. And he\’s won another gold.

So what next? A KBE is higher than a KB, marginally so I think. He could go Grand Cross I suppose but that would be odd to say the least. They\’re not going to revive Bt. for him. And it also won\’t be a peerage (Seb Coe got that for losing his seat, not for his sporting achievements).

So, anyone got any interesting speculation on what gong they might give him? I\’ve seen it mentioned that Coe might get the CH but that\’s certainly not going to go to Hoy.

The thing being, there\’s not really any natural progression from KB, is there?

29 thoughts on “Now here\’s a problem: what do we do with Sir Chris Hoy?”

  1. A brief glance at wikipedia suggests the Order of Merit as a possibility.

    Tim adds: Good grief no. That’s waaaay to high a leap.

  2. Clear indication of Gong inflation. The rot set in when the Beatles were awarded a political honour for services to the recreational substances industry.

    We really need to separate those who are famous for being famous, like”Sir” Cliff Richard from those who have actually achieved something, like Sir Chris Hoy. A separate honours system for those who have weaselled their way through political life without being arrested for /convicted of corruption would clean up the existing honours.

  3. Grumpy Old Man,

    We really need to separate those who are famous for being famous, like”Sir” Cliff Richard from those who have actually achieved something, like Sir Chris Hoy

    I’m really not a fan of Cliff Richard, but comparing Cliff to Chris, I’ve got to side with Cliff.

    Chris Hoy has won a number of gold medals in track cycling, the most obscure of all cycling sports, one that requires millions of pounds of annual subsidy to stay afloat. In terms of global Google Trends in the past 30 days, he is below Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah. Over the past 12 months, Mark Cavendish scores higher.

    Cliff, well, he’s made a few good records (Move It), is enjoyed regularly by millions, sold 250m records worldwife, has sold out large concerts for decades, has cost me nothing and does a huge amount for charity.

  4. @Matthew L, So he does, but there is still no such thing as a KB – Knight Bachelor is Kt, or just plain Sir.

  5. Military heroes in the good old days used to get a big house along with their gong. Marlborough got Blenheim Palace. Wellington got Stratfield Saye.

    Perhaps we could buy Sir Chris a nice house somewhere, with a big garage for all his bikes.

  6. “So, one gold (or perhaps, any number of golds at one Olympics) gets the MBE.”

    That’s the key issue. A step up with each gold or a step up with a world beating performance at an olympics?

    For getting gold at 5 consecutive olympics Redgrave ended up with a CBE, a knighthood and diabetes. Hoy has more golds but has only done it at three olympics.

  7. There used to be an award carrying the post-nominal letters KB, it was part of the Order of the Bath, but is not used any more.

    Being made a knight bachelor does not give rise to any post-nominal letters, instead you stick a Sir before your name.

    Someone like Sir Chris Hoy who is a knight bachelor and holds the MBE presents no problem for those who feel he should be given a further award. His MBE can be up-graded to KBE which also confers the right to be known as Sir Chris but ranks above knight bachelor. In theory it could be upgraded to OBE or CBE but that doesn’t seem appropriate given that the award of a knighthood to someone with an OBE or CBE is considered a promotion.

    Incidentally, Orders of the Bath rank above Orders of the British Empire, so a CB ranks higher than a CBE and a KCB (Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath) ranks higher than a KBE.

    The more difficult question is what to give Sebastian Coe. He already has a KBE and is a Lord, perhaps he will fill one of the vacancies in the Order of the Garter.

  8. KBE is technically higher than Knight Bachelor, but in practice seems to be less respected (reflecting the low standing of that Order).

    So the next logical step would be GBE (Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire). But that’s pretty high ranking; averages about one a year.

    Perhaps the real question is how he leapfrogged from MBE in 2005 to Knight Bachelor in 2009. Why not just a CBE in 2009, then he could have been knighted this year.

    In which case, giving him the CBE now seems appropriate; fills in the gap that he jumped. I think it is possible to be given a lower rank in an order when you already have a higher rank in another order (although I can’t think of any examples).

  9. “The more difficult question is what to give Sebastian Coe”

    A good slap?

    “I think it is possible to be given a lower rank in an order when you already have a higher rank in another order (although I can’t think of any examples).”

    Kelly Holmes. She was made Dame Kelly (DBE) before getting the MBE (mil) as well for services to the military.

  10. With all due respect to all above, I don’t think it matters – Chris Hoy has broken all relevant records and created his own cycling posterity (Laura Trott says that he was her inspiration to start cycling and there are many others who haven’t been cross-examined on that by journalists).
    Pheidippides was never awarded a title but is remembered until the end of the earth.

  11. When I see comments about the improvements in Athletics performance I occasionally (and usually want to) point out that whereas my marathon training leaves a lot to be desired I never, repeat never, fight a battle in full armour against an enemy outnumbering us by more than two to one in the morning and then run a marathon in the afternoon.

  12. john77,

    With all due respect to all above, I don’t think it matters – Chris Hoy has broken all relevant records and created his own cycling posterity (Laura Trott says that he was her inspiration to start cycling and there are many others who haven’t been cross-examined on that by journalists).

    I’m sure that there’s Gloucestershire cheese rollers who could say the same. They don’t expect me to pay for it. And it’s more entertaining.

  13. Or you could be satisfied with an Olympic Medal. After all, they actually earned it not got one in a Lucky Bag.

  14. There is no female equivalent of a Knight Bachelor, and women are therefore usually given a DBE in contexts where men would be just made a knight without any letters.

    In practice, it seems to be normal to award a KBE to British nationals who are resident abroad rather than just knighting them – so we have Sir Tim Berners-Lee KBE, and Sir Jonathan Ive KBE. I think this might be due to the fact that it is seen as a bit declasse to refer to yourself as Sir something in front of foreign nationals in their own country, while simply sticking a few letters after your name still lets people know that you have it without being quite so awkward. (Similarly, when you give honorary knighthoods to foreigners, they are allowed to use the letters but not the “Sir”, so you want to give them some letters, meaning that honorary KBEs are common but honorary Knights Bachelor as far as I can tell do not exist).

    People resident in Britain are sometimes given KBEs when they have some other title that is conventionally used instead of “Sir”. So if someone is already a Lord, when you knight them you give them a KBE so they get some letters for it. This applies to Sebastian Coe – he was Lord Coe before he was knighted, so they later made him Lord Coe KBE so that he would have letters after his name that would tell people he had been knighted. Knight a professor on the other hand, and you do not have this problem, as for some reason we use double barrelled “Professor Sir..” – German style for such people. Knight a mere doctor though, and he starts using simply “Sir” and drops the “Doctor”, possibly because you can usually throw some letters after your name if you want to tell people you are a doctor as well.

    Church of England clergymen are also never technically knighted. This may be due to a perceived incorrectness in giving a historically military title to members of the clergy. They can be made members of orders of chivalry, though: The Rev Joe Bloggs KBE is okay, but making him a Knight Bachelor is not. So clergymen get KBEs, too.

  15. Surely the Germans have got this sorted – dont they have herr doctor doctor and so on. So Lord Lord Coe and Sir Sir Chris Hoy…

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