Steve Redgrave has spoken about the “very special” moment he received his knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Redgrave was speaking as part of Eurosport's special commemorative show, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which airs on Monday at 7pm.
Britain's most decorated rower won five Olympic gold medals over a 16-year period at Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney and was awarded a knighthood in 2001. And the now 60-year-old said that it was the "ultimate recognition".
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“It's the ultimate recognition our country can bestow on somebody for the achievements they've made in whatever walk of life,” he said. “And so being able to go along and receive that is very special.
“There's about 130 people that get recognized and the people receiving the awards are kept back, and then you're filed in in a line around the back of the room.
“As she puts the medal around your neck, she talks to you. Everyone gets two questions. I don't know how she knows everybody of those 130 from all sorts of different walks of life.
“One of the questions to me was about my career in sports and the recognition that I've brought to the country from that. It's very special.”
Redgrave also reflected on the Queen’s impact and influence on British sport, saying that her role as a figurehead provided added motivation for this country’s stars when competing.
“Of course, a part of her role is not to be political but be promoting our country,” he said. “And I can't think of anybody over the last 70 years that has come close to promoting our country around the world, and embracing, recognizing people's achievements, and just being a fantastic figurehead.
“She's been amazing. Being thrown into the job relatively young in life and being around in that role for 70 years is remarkable. And all those 70 years, she has been able to adapt to society changes and be relevant all the time.”
He added: “Of all these major events, having the Queen coming along, it just makes such an important part and motivation to the people that are competing. Especially the British teams within the Commonwealth, or the British team if it's the Olympics. And that recognition that the whole country right from the top is supporting you.”
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