Calls are being made by a host of current and former stars of British athletics and ex-sports ministers for Jamaican track and field superstar Usain Bolt to be awarded a knighthood when he hangs up his spikes after London 2017.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth, Bolt is eligible for a knighthood, something previously awarded to the likes of cricketers Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards and Donald Bradman.
Bolt, who turns 31 on August 21, received his own country’s equivalent of the honour, the Order of Jamaica, in 2009 after setting world records for the 100m and 200m which still stand.
But he could still be knighted under the UK system, which has recently focused on British sporting exploits, including those of Andy Murray, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katherine Grainger.
Bolt’s achievements – eight Olympic and 11 World Championships golds – outstrip them all, with Lord Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations who chairs the sports honours committee, this week declaring the Jamaican “a genius” who stood alongside Muhammad Ali in the pantheon of sporting greats.
Among those making the calls for Bolt to be knighted include the likes of former sports ministers Gerry Sutcliffe and Richard Caborn as well as former Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis and European champions Martin Rooney and Jo Pavey.