Feb 28 2013
Sir Dave Brailsford received personal recognition for overseeing British cycling's annus mirabilis when he was presented with his knighthood at Buckingham Palace.
Brailsford guided Great Britain's Olympic cyclists to eight golds, including seven from 10 events on the track, replicating the haul from the 2008 Beijing Games. As Team Sky principal he also oversaw Sir Bradley Wiggins' historic Tour de France victory ahead of team-mate Chris Froome. It was a double day of delight for Brailsford, who was celebrating his birthday.
"I'm honoured," he said on www.britishcycling.org.uk: "It means so much and is such a humbling experience. I'm very proud. The Queen congratulated me on my birthday, which is actually on the 29th, which made her chuckle. I'm 49. We talked about the Olympics and how proud everyone was and what a great event it had been."
Brailsford, who has committed to the two roles until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics of 2016, took the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of his riders.
"I have seen their development for many, many years and all the background work, all the laughter and the tears and the pain," he said. "It was fantastic for the country, of course, but particularly good for the riders and the sport of cycling itself."
Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny, who won two gold medals at London 2012, received his OBE, while Joanna Rowsell, one third of the team pursuit-winning trio, received her MBE. Bolton-born athlete Kenny was recognised for his services to cycling - but he felt the wheels almost coming off because he was so nervous.
He said: "It's a bit surreal but amazing. 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. It's terrible. But yeah, it was amazing."
Rowsell, from Cheam, Surrey, had met the Queen previously at a Team GB and ParalympicsGB reception at the Palace, but this was the first time she had spoken to her alone.
The 24-year-old, who missed last week's Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk to concentrate on the road this year, told Press Association Sport: "It's really cool to have a one-to-one conversation with the Queen. I don't get nerves for things like this in the slightest, no nerves at all. You just enjoy it."