CYCLING

Paul Weller honour tops knighthood for Wiggins

Being on stage with legendary Jam singer is highlight of the year, says cycling star

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 December, 2012, 4:58am
AFP

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British cycling star Bradley Wiggins admits receiving a knighthood in the New Year Honours capped a glorious year, but not even that honour could compare to being on stage with his pop star hero Paul Weller.

Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France earlier this year and then earned his fourth Olympic gold medal a few weeks later.

But all the prizes and plaudits will take a back seat when the 32-year-old reflects on his own highlight of this year.

Wiggins is almost as famous for his love of mod culture as he is for his exploits on a bike. Last week he fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he joined legendary singer Weller to perform The Jam's classic hit That's Entertainment during a charity concert at Hammersmith Apollo.

"For me it's probably the obvious one, apart from [BBC] Sports Personality [of the Year], playing at Hammersmith Apollo with Paul Weller was incredible," Wiggins said.

"That topped it for me, and that's not a joke. It was amazing. Playing a Jam song as well, I mean how many people get to do that?"

Wiggins has been hailed for his down-to-earth attitude in an era of ego-driven sporting divas and he believes the award sends a good message in the age of celebrity culture.

"It's quite something really," he said. "There was never any doubt whether I'd accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a Sir, and I probably never will.

"I don't like profiting from status so it's more for my family. It's nice for my parents and grandparents to be able to say I'm a knight, and for my kids in the future.

"To be deemed good enough to have a knighthood by the establishment is quite nice really, because I've continued to be myself through most of the fame.

"It's a nice advertisement for our culture I think because so much of it is based on being something you're not with celebrity, so it's reassuring in a way."

Sailor Ben Ainslie was also knighted after winning his fourth consecutive gold medal to become the most successful Olympic sailor ever.

He and Wiggins headed a special, Olympic-heavy honours list that contained all of Britain's gold medallists as well as coaches and top officials.

Sebastian Coe, who masterminded the smooth running of the Games as chairman of the London organising committee, was awarded a Companion of Honour - a title given to no more than 65 people at one time.