Leading article: What's a gong, when you've got a gold?


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The Independent Online

Immortal glory, Olympic gold, the yellow jersey from the Tour de France; none, it seems, is enough. From the outpourings that followed Bradley Wiggins' cycling triumph yesterday, it would appear that, for a British athlete to truly know success, only a knighthood will suffice.

Barely had Wiggo completed his dazzling time trial win and there were calls for his inclusion in the honours list, "Arise, Sir Wiggo" bandied as the very least a grateful nation can do. It is testament to the champion's refreshing lack of pretension that he responded only with the downbeat observation that his putative handle "doesn't sound right".

At the pinnacle of a spectacular sporting career, as Britain's most successful Olympian ever, we would not stint Wiggo one iota of acclaim. But must we always follow achievement with a demeaning discussion about whether the person responsible should be in line for a gong?