The Honours List just 'p***** me off'… Paralympics great Pearson says he should have been knighted and Olympic medals are still valued higher
17:27 GMT, 30 December 2012
One of Britain's leading Paralympians has launched a stinging attack on the New Year Honours List, admitting it 'p***** him off'.
Dressage rider Lee Pearson won his 10th gold medal at this year's London Paralympics, and received a CBE in the list.
He told the Independent on Sunday that he was 'disappointed' not to receive a knighthood, and added: 'It's the discrepancy that p***** me off'.
High achiever: Dressage star Pearson competing at this year's London Paralympic Games
Other Paralympians had already criticised the list, which saw Bradley Wiggins and Ben Ainslie knighted. Paralympian Sarah Storey was made a dame. Four Olympians and two Paralympians were awarded OBEs, with four Olympians and one Paralympian receiving a CBE.
Pearson said: 'Obviously, 10 gold, one silver and one bronze just isn't enough. I'm disappointed because I do feel I've given a lot to Paralympic sport and equestrianism. I think 10 gold medals is quite an achievement.'
Pearson won three gold medals at three successive Games, in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. He won an amazing tenth gold in the team dressage at Greenwich Park.
Wiggins and Ainslie are both greats of their respective sports, cycling and sailing, but Pearson's gold medal tally is higher than both of them combined.
Suits you both, sir: Bradley Wiggins (left) and Ben Ainslie (right) have both been knighted
Pearson, 38, insists this case shows that Paralympic and Olympic medals are still not valued equally.
'There still seems to be a discrepancy between a Paralympic medal and an Olympic medal,' he added.
'It's tougher to get on in normal life if you've got a disability, and then to do sport on top of that is quite an achievement, I think, but maybe the powers that be don't.'
Stars such as David Weir, who won four
gold medals in London, had already said over the weekend that better
awards were deserved for Paralympians.
Weir told the Daily Telegraph: 'Kelly
Holmes was made a dame when she won two gold medals, but it seems we
have to get into double figures to get it. Sarah Storey should have been
awarded this years ago. I feel that sometimes we are left out, perhaps
because we are not in the public eye.'
She's more than a Brit special: Sarah Storey has been made a Dame
Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: 'You can do the arithmetic and make your own conclusions. I think it's important to listen to what two great Paralympians think. The people saying maybe [Paralympians] should have a bit more, there might be a case for that.'
The London Paralympic Games was the biggest in the history of the event. Huge television audiences tuned into Channel 4's coverage, with sell-out crowds turning up across the capital to watch the various sports.
The likes of Storey, Weir, and Ellie Simmonds have become major public figures after their success at the Games. All three were among the contenders for this month's Sports Personality of the Year award, which was won by Wiggins.