Coleman's bauble for composure: Henry Winter on the New Year's sporting honours

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The Independent Online
QUITE remarkable: a 66-year-old 'national treasure' is to receive an OBE. David Coleman, described as such by David Mellor, has been honoured in the New Year's List along with a host of Olympians, whose brilliance he captured so vividly in Barcelona.

The distinguished BBC commentator has covered every World Cup finals since Sweden in 1958 and every Olympic Games since Rome in 1960. His matey humour as ringmaster of A Question Of Sport has made the quiz show compulsive viewing for millions.

The only eminent figure of the sporting world (apart from Baldy Pevsner, Sid and Doris Bonkers) to feature regularly in Private Eye, Coleman is the epitome of the professionalism that exudes from every major BBC sporting production. At Munich in 1972, when Palestinian terrorists started killing Israeli athletes in the Olympic village, he relayed the unfolding horrors to the viewing public back home with composure and sensitivity.

MBEs go to all Britain's gold medallists from this summer's Games - Sally Gunnell, Chris Boardman, Jonny Searle, Greg Searle, Matthew Pinsent, Garry Herbert; and the Paralympians, Tanni Grey and Chris Holmes, who won 10 golds between them. Linford Christie and Steve Redgrave have already been to the Palace.

Others who were on duty for their country in Spain have earned MBEs: the hockey player, Sean Kerly, and the swimmers, Sharron Davies and Nick Gillingham.

One of football's most popular figures, Gordon Strachan, the 35- year-old Leeds United midfielder, has an OBE to go with his English champions' medal, Scottish caps, European Cup-Winners' Cup winners' medal and FA Cup winners' medal. 'It won't make me a better player,' Strachan said, 'but it's always nice to get a pat on the back in whatever form.'

Another sporting Scot, David Sole, the British Lions prop who has just hung up his boots, also receives an OBE, as does Micky Stewart, recently retired as England cricket team manager.

The top gongs have gone to acclaimed administrators, a CBE to Arthur Jones, the president of the International Badminton Federation, while Mary Glen-Haig, a member of the International Olympic Committee, becomes a Dame Commander of the British Empire.


CBE: Arthur Jones (president International Badminton Federation).

Dame Commander of the British Empire: Mary Glen-Haig (British member of the International Olympic Committee).

OBE: David Coleman (commentator); Gordon Strachan (footballer); David Sole (rugby union player); Micky Stewart (former England cricket manager); Stanley Patterson (services to archery); George Doggart (president of English Schools Cricket Association).

MBE: Sally Gunnell (athlete); Chris Boardman (cyclist); Jon Searle (rower); Greg Searle (rower); Matthew Pinsent (rower); Gary Herbert (cox); Sean Kerly (hockey player); Sharron Davies (swimmer); Nick Gillingham (swimmer); Tanni Grey (Paralympic gold medallist); Chris Holmes (Paralympic gold medallist); Timothy Marshall (services to sport for the disabled); Denise Smith (services to sport for the disabled).