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British prime minister: Officials charged with doling out knighthoods face Olympic overload

08/12/2012 11:21 EDT | Updated 10/12/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - British athletes' Olympic success means the people charged with doling out the country's knighthoods and other honours will have their work cut out for them, Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday.

As of Sunday afternoon, Britain had scored 29 gold medals, a haul made especially sweet because London is the host of the 2012 games. So there should be an abundance of options when officials decide who Queen Elizabeth II will reward in her semiannual honours list, Cameron told reporters.

"How they're going to cope I'm not quite sure," he joked.

Sportsmen and sportswomen are staples of the honours list, which is intended to recognize people from all walks of life for merit, gallantry or service. Olympic champions at the Beijing Games were all given honours. Gradations include Member of the British Empire, Order of the British Empire, Commander of the British Empire, and the highest honour — a knighthood.

Among the Olympians who've been knighted: Champion rower Sir Steve Redgrave, middle-distance runner Dame Kelly Holmes, and Sir Chris Hoy, the Scottish cyclist who won his sixth career gold medal on Tuesday.

The British Olympic Association on Sunday called for all of Britain's gold medallists to receive some kind of recognition from the queen. Association chairman Colin Moynihan said it was "right and important that the country has an opportunity — and the honours list is one of those opportunities — to recognize their contribution."

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