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Gloucestershire's London 2012 Olympic stars rewarded in New Year Honours list

By Youngy10  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

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A GOLDEN year for Gloucestershire's glorious Olympic stars has been capped with a Royal stamp of approval in the New Year honours list.

Five of our county's sporting stars have been recognised for the role they played in making London 2012 an unforgettable and success-filled summer of sport.

Double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin leads the way with an OBE after striking gold twice in the Greenwich Park dressage arena.

Teammates Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer receive MBEs, as does rower Alex Gregory and shooting coach Ian Coley.

Rower Pete Reed and cyclist Ed Clancy, who were both awarded MBEs after their triumphs at Beijing four years ago are not awarded gongs this time around.

Dujardin's honour caps an unforgettable year which saw her rise from a relative sporting unknown to one of Great Britain's most decorated female Olympians.

Her double success puts the 26-year-old on an elite list of female sporting stars to have claimed more than one medal at a single Olympic Games.

Only athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, who claimed 800 and 1500 metre golds in Athens in 2004 and London 2012 teammate, cyclist Laura Trott have matched Dujardin's efforts.

Dujardin's first triumph came on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 7 as part of an all-Gloucestershire trio in the team dressage event.

Hester, the owner of the Oaklebrook Mill stables near Newent where Dujardin lives and trains, led the way and Ampney St Peter's Bechtolsheimer put Britain in touch of a medal.

But it was 26-year-old  and wonder horse Valegro who secured Britain's first ever dressage gold, putting equine powerhouses Germany into second place for the first time in living memory.

Two days later the duo repeated the dose in the individual event to the strains of The Great Escape and Land of Hope and Glory in the individual grand prix freestyle to music.

If the dressage golds capped an unforgettable games for Gloucestershire, then the all conquering rowing four got the ball rolling on Saturday, August 4.

While the events of that unforgettable evening in the Olympic Stadium have gone down in folklore as 'Super Saturday', it was the rowers who started the day off in style.

Joining a boat with three reigning Olympic champions and three MBEs already in it would have been a daunting prospect for Cheltenham-born Alex Gregory, but he delivered.

The former Richard Pate Primary and Bredon Hill Middle School pupil suffered the anguish of watching from close quarters, but on the sidelines as first reserve, as the British four won Beijing gold.

Going into the games with great expectations as the leaders of the all-conquering rowing team, the reigning Olympic champions duly delivered.

Beaten in the final pre-Olympic World Cup regatta by a powerful Australian four, the British boat roared back into form in front of the partisan home crowds at Eton Dorney.

Victory over their big rivals in the semi-finals earned them the pick of the lanes and the early bragging rights going into the final on Super Saturday.

And when it started to hammer down with rain in the nervous hours before Reed, Gregory and Co were due to climb aboard their boat – the British knew that it was their time.

Leading from start to finish, they blew their opposition aside to claim a dominant victory, one that ensured Gregory is now joins his crewmates as an MBE.

However, Gregory must be careful when he hands his MBE over to his three-year-old son Jasper, if his reaction to being handed his Olympic medal is anything to go by.

Handed his Dad's medal in the immediate aftermath of the race, Jasper looked at it, tried to take a bite and threw it to the floor in disgust saying, "that's not made of chocolate.

The man who masterminded Gregory's triumph, rowing performance director David Tanner is knighted in the list, alongside British Cycling supremo David Brailsford.

Tour de France winner and London 2012 time trial winner Bradley Wiggins is also made a Sir after winning his fourth Olympic gold, a feat and honour matched by sailor Ben Ainslie

Athletes Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, rower Katherine Grainger and cyclist Victoria Pendleton receive the CBE for their efforts.

US Open and men's singles Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray and cyclists Trott and Jason Kenny join Dujardin in being awarded the OBE.

All of the remaining British gold medallists who went in to London 2012 without any previous honour receive MBEs, including shooter Peter Wilson, who is coached by Ian Coley at his Andoversford shooting school.

Coley, who also coached Richard Faulds to Olympic Gold in the double trap event in Sydney 12-years-ago earns an MBE after his double success.

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