Britain's most successful female Olympian Laura Kenny is set to become a dame in the new year’s honours after her record-breaking performances at Tokyo 2020, according to reports in the British media.
Kenny will not be the first British sporting star to be honoured with this achievement; she follows in the footsteps of such sporting legends as Dame Jess Ennis-Hill and Dame Sarah Storey.
Eurosport examines the incredible careers of the great women awarded damehoods.
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Kelly Homes

Kelly Holmes was awarded the title of Dame on March 9, 2005 “for services to athletics”. Holmes was a middles distance athlete, specialising in the 800m and 1500m. She secured her first Olympic medal with a bronze in the 800m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Holmes secured gold in both the 800m and the 1500m.
During her career Holmes set multiple records in numerous events; she still holds the records in the 600m and 1000m distances. Holmes' British record in the 800m was broken by Keely Hodgkinson at Tokyo 2020, when the 19-year-old clocked a time of one minute 55.88 seconds to claim silver.
Three years after receiving her damehood, the two-time gold medallist founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which supports young athletes and help the lives of young people facing disadvantage across the UK.

Jess Ennis-Hill

On Super Saturday at London 2012, Jessica Ennis-Hill became the Olympic champion in the heptathlon with a new personal best score of 6955 points.
Reflecting on the event Ennis-Hill said: “I was so shocked after winning - the sheer relief was mixed with a sense of total disbelief!

Black History Month: Jessica Ennis-Hill – Olympic legend

Image credit: Getty Images

“I had actually won - all the hard work and the ups and downs had finally paid off. I had won gold!”
Under two years after giving birth, the Olympic gold medallist claimed silver at Rio 2016, before retiring from her career in athletics. Ennis-Hill was awarded her damehood shortly after her retirement.

Mary Peters

Mary Peters won the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich with a new world record. Her medal was the only athletics gold for Great Britain and Northern Ireland that year. She had previously finished fourth in the 1964 Olympics and ninth in 1968. She competed for two more years after becoming Olympic champion.
Following her retirement Peters established the Mary Peters Trust to support talented young sportsmen and women, both able-bodied and disabled, from across Northern Ireland in a financial and advisory capacity. She was awarded the Dame Commander in the 2000 Birthday Honours list for services to sport.
Northern Ireland's premier athletics track, on the outskirts of Belfast, is named after Peters; her statue overlooks the track.

Tanni Grey-Thompson

One of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, former wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson collected 11 gold medals, 4 silvers, and a bronze across five Paralympic games in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 4x100m. Grey-Thompson’s daughter witnessed her mother win her last two gold medals at the Athens Paralympic Games

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson from Wales, one Great Britain's most succesful disabled athletes; poses with the torch which will be used for the 2012 Paralympic Games (Reuters)

Image credit: Reuters

Over her career, Grey-Thompson broke 30 world records on the track. In 2005 she was promoted to Dame from OBE for “services to sport”.

Sarah Storey

Among the most decorated athletes in British sporting history, Sarah Storey is the owner of 14 Paralympic gold medals, having first competed as a swimmer at four Paralympic Games, winning two golds, three silvers and a bronze in Barcelona in 1992.
Following an ear infection that kept her out the pool she swapped to cycling in 2005, achieving nine cycling titles at the Paralympics of 2008,2012 and 2016.
Storey will represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020 in her eighth Paralympic Games.
Following London 2012, Storey was appointed a Dame.

Katherine Grainger

Having achieved a silver medal at Rio 2016, gold at London 2012 and silver at Beijing 2008, Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000, Dame Katherine Grainger was the first British woman to win five medals at five successive games.
The former rower is now the chair of UK Sport. She was awarded her damehood in the 2017 New Year's Honours for services to sport and charity.

Mary Glen-Haig

Dame Mary Glen-Haig, who died in 2014, was a British fencer who competed in the 1948,1952,1956 and 1960 Olympic games.
Following retiring from the sport she became a formidable sports administrator who, for 12 years, was one of Britain’s two representatives on the International Olympic Committee.
After London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics, Glen-Haig was active as the host nation's ambassador to the games.
Glen-Haig continued to fence until her 70s and was created a dame in 1993.
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