Meet Mrs Carol Hoy MBE and son Sir Chris

SCOTTISH Olympic champion Chris Hoy is honoured with a knighthood in the New Year Honours List today – and his mother is made an MBE for her own achievements.

The cyclist's award follows a remarkable year of triumph that saw him win three Olympic gold medals in Beijing – the first Briton in 100 years to achieve such a feat.

Hoy called his knighthood an "amazing honour" but said he was just as pleased to see his mother, Carol, made an MBE for her work as a nurse in sleep-related illnesses such as narcolepsy and sleep aponea. It is the first time a mother and son have been awarded honours on the same list.

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And it appears that being honoured by the Queen must run in the family – Hoy's grandmother, Isa Reid, was made an MBE in 1989 for her work as chairman of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Hoy leads a list of sports stars being honoured today – including every Olympic gold medallist from the games.

Racing driver Lewis Hamilton gets an MBE and 14-year-old Paralympian Eleanor Simmonds receives the same award – making her the youngest person ever to be given an honour.

The double honour for Hoy's family tops an incredible year for the 32-year-old, who was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

And in a break with tradition, Hoy has been knighted while still competing, and will take part in the London 2012 Olympics as Sir Chris. He said: "To become a knight from riding your bike, it's mad. But it is just an amazing honour. It's also great for the sport."

Born in Edinburgh, Hoy started his climb to stardom at the age of seven when he rode in BMX competitions, as well as rowing for Scotland. He went on to concentrate on sprint cycling, becoming a multiple world champion and setting a string of records.

Hoy has won a total of four Olympic golds, the first in Athens four years ago. Then this year, he won gold in the team sprint, Keirin and match sprint events, becoming the first British athlete in 100 years to clinch three golds at the same Olympics.

Hoy, who now lives in Salford, Greater Manchester, said he was still adjusting to finding out he was becoming a knight.

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"It's bizarre, it almost seems like it's not real," he said.

First Minister Alex Salmond paid tribute to Hoy, saying: "Chris is Scotland's most successful ever Olympian and I am delighted his incredible sporting achievements have been recognised in the New Years honours list.

"Chris is an outstanding competitor, inspirational figure and a great ambassador for Scotland on the world stage.

"I would like to congratulate Chris on receiving a knighthood for services to sport and his mother, Carol Hoy, who also receives an MBE, for services to healthcare, completing a famous double for the Hoy family.

"When he won his triple gold, I dubbed Chris the King of Scots – perhaps a knighthood will do."

The new Sir Chris also paid tribute to his mother. "I was as delighted with my mum getting her MBE as I was with my knighthood," he said. "She retired after about 40-odd years of work. The department she worked for became the top sleep lab in Europe. They've done numerous studies there which have broken new ground."

Mrs Hoy, who lives in Edinburgh, said she was surprised to find out about her award.

"When the letter came through the door, I did not have my glasses on and when I read it, I thought it was for Chris as it said 'C Hoy' on the envelope. But then I reread it and read it about ten times before I believed it."

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Mrs Hoy was a nurse for 43 years before retiring last year, after 30 years of working on sleep-related illnesses.

The 61-year-old's honour was given for her work as a specialist nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary's Department of Sleep Medicine.

Mrs Hoy, who was the youngest-ever sister at Glasgow Royal Infirmary at the start of her career, helped train nurses from around the world.

She said she missed colleagues at the hospital, but being retired meant she had been able to witness her son's amazing achievements at first hand. She added: "It's been a wonderful year. I would love it if Chris and I were to receive our honours together, but we will have to wait and see."

Sports stars awarded honours alongside Hoy include his fellow cyclist Bradley Wiggins, who won two golds in Beijing, and British Cycling performance director David Brailsford – both made CBEs.

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, 19, from Nottinghamshire, who won two golds in the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle events, gets an OBE.

Christine Ohuruogu, 24, who came back from a one-year ban for missing drug tests to become Olympic women's 400m sprint champion, is made an MBE.

MBEs also go to Tim Brabants, 31, who won Britain's first canoeing gold medal at this summer's Games, and middleweight boxer James DeGale, 22, who recently turned professional after winning gold in Beijing.

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Ben Ainslie, 31, who is Britain's most successful Olympic sailor after winning a gold medal in each of the last three Games, gets a CBE.

Lewis Hamilton, who at 23 became the youngest winner of the Formula 1 world drivers' championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, said he felt "humbled" by his MBE award.

As well as Hoy, other sporting Scots receive honours. Blind cyclist Aileen McGlynn, 35, from Glasgow, who won double gold at the Paralympics, gets an OBE, as does Stephen Park, who managed the successful British Olympic sailing team.

Outside the sporting world, the honours list brings a knighthood for Professor Neil Douglas, 59, for services to medicine. He is the president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and, like Chris Hoy's mother, specialises in sleep problems.

Grampian Chief Constable Colin McKerracher, 54, who began his police career as a cadet in Glasgow in 1972, gets a CBE.

A Queen's police medal goes to John Malcolm, former assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police. He is rewarded for work with the service, including leading the investigation into Glasgow Airport terror attack.

Dr Ian McKenzie Smith, 73, is made a CBE for services to the arts in Scotland. He served as secretary and later president of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Other Scots honoured include Sandy Crombie, 59, the chief executive of insurance firm Standard Life, and Dr Andrew Cubie, whose 1999 report led to the scrapping of tuition fees in Scotland. Both are knighted.

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The list also sees a knighthood for fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett. The 60-year-old revealed last December that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

Meanwhile, Dragons' Den star Peter Jones, who had an ambition to run a multi-million- pound company since early childhood, is awarded a CBE for services to business, entrepreneurship and young people. And actor Martin Sheen, who played Tony Blair in the hit film The Queen, is appointed an OBE, while Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant becomes a CBE.

• Additional reporting by Ross Lydall and Hamish Macdonell.

Who says nice guys don't win?

EACH passing week seems to further cement Chris Hoy's status as the country's pre-eminent sportsman, a living legend – or latter day Steve Redgrave, if you like. What next? The title of Sporting God to be conferred by the IOC?

There are few sportsmen on whose shoulders a knighthood would sit comfortably – even the aforementioned Sir Steve was guilty of the occasional display of petulance – but Hoy is an exception.

His humility is in danger of becoming a clich, so often has it been remarked upon. But you will search fruitlessly to find anyone with anything negative to say about Hoy.

I know: I asked around, and looked under the odd stone, in researching his biography, published this year.

Even as a seven-year old BMX racer, Hoy was a model of sportsmanship. Significantly, he was never the best and this meant he was always chasing and having to work ever harder. And so he came to appreciate what hard work could do, and how far it could take him.

Arguably his real achievement is to have successfully clambered up the slippery pole without having made enemies. Arnaud Tournant, his closest rival over the last decade, speaks warmly of Hoy, describing as "an honour" the fact that he faced – and on two occasions was narrowly denied an Olympic gold medal by – such "a great competitor, and a great person".

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Countless anecdotes attest to his nice-guy credentials, but does that make him knighthood material? It depends. What, exactly, is required, and expected of, a sporting knight?

If you were to draw up a list it would probably include that the candidate have impeccable credentials as a "sportsman", with all that implies; that they cut the mustard as an "ambassador"; that they are adept at avoiding controversy. Then there is acting as a talisman for the team; exerting an influence that transcends their own sport; acting as a spokesman against drugs, cheating, and other forms of corruption in sport.

Hoy ticks every box and as sporting knights go, I don't think anyone is or could be better qualified.

• Richard Moore is author of Heroes, Villains & Velodromes: Chris Hoy and Britain's Track Cycling Revolution

• Watch our Chris Hoy slideshow here

• The full New Year Honours list