Legendary jump jockey Tony McCoy was awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours List out Wednesday, in which British sports stars including Chris Froome were recognised for their achievements.
Two-time Tour de France winner Froome, 1964 Formula One world champion John Surtees and five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan were among those honoured.
Stars from football, tennis and boxing were among those made commanders (CBE), officers (OBE) or regular members (MBE) of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry.
McCoy, who becomes entitled to use the prefix Sir, rode 4,358 winners in his extraordinary career.
The 41-year-old retired from racing in April after being crowned British jump racing champion jockey for a 20th consecutive year.
“It is an unbelievable privilege and honour to receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours List. I certainly wasn't expecting it,” the Northern Irishman said.
“I consider myself lucky to have had a job I loved.
“The support from the public and racing community since my retirement has been overwhelming.
“A knighthood really tops off what's been a crazy and memorable year.”
Tour de France defending champion Froome said he was “extremely humbled and proud” to be made an OBE after he became the first Briton to win cycling’s premier road race on two occasions with his victory in July.
O’Sullivan, 40, arguably the most naturally-gifted snooker player of all time, was recognised with the OBE.
He won the 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013 world crowns.
Last year he said he did not feel he had done anything to merit an honour, only snooker titles.
“It came as a great surprise to receive my OBE,” he said.
“I am extremely grateful for this recognition which is a great honour and has made both myself and my family very proud.”
Surtees, the only man to win world titles on two and four wheels, has been awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to motor sport.
The 81-year-old won seven world motorcycling championships between 1956 and 1960, before switching to car racing, winning the Formula One world title with Ferrari in 1963.
From the world of football, Denis Law, a star of the 1960s Manchester United teams and Scotland’s joint-top scorer with 30 goals, was awarded the CBE.
Francis Lee, who won the league title with Manchester City in 1968 and was the club chairman in the 1990s, was also made a CBE.
England’s women footballers finished third at the World Cup in Canada earlier this year and captain Steph Houghton was made an MBE along with veteran midfielder Fara Williams.
Sue Barker, who won the 1976 French Open tennis title and is now one of BBC television’s main sports presenters, was made an OBE.
Carl Frampton, the IBF super-bantamweight champion, was awarded the MBE.
“I am happy and proud, and I am pleased that my sport of professional boxing has got some recognition,” he said.
Tracey Neville, the England women’s netball team coach, was awarded an MBE. She is the sister of former Manchester United and England footballers Gary and Phil Neville.