“I said it wasn’t a medal from a palace that I dream of when I raced my bike, that it felt like a so­cial rat­ing and a hi­er­ar­chy that I didn’t want to in­volve my­self in”

Cycling Weekly - - News - Katie Archibald Olympic and world cham­pion, Katie Archibald got into cy­cling af­ter win­ning hand­i­cap races on a High­land Games grass track

I have an MBE. Ac­tu­ally I guess “I am an MBE” is the proper word­ing. I don’t say the sen­tence of­ten; it em­bar­rasses me a bit. But the let­ters are there af­ter my name and I have the neck­lace and cer­tifi­cate and the like.

Be­fore be­ing of­fered an MBE (in my case for ser­vices to sport) you get sent a let­ter ask­ing whether you would ac­cept such a thing were it of­fered. This came along af­ter the Rio Olympics, like a bonus cheque where the currency is your so­cial stature. I ig­nored the let­ter for a long time, fairly in­dif­fer­ent. This was rude.

Since I didn’t re­spond, the palace (or more likely some­one work­ing in a slightly less elab­o­rate build­ing, but one with cor­nices and gar­goyles none­the­less) con­tacted an agency I’m at­tached to. Now a third party, a party with my email ad­dress, knew about the let­ter and I had to re­ply. It took me a fur­ther cou­ple of weeks to de­cide what that re­ply would be.

Dur­ing that time I had din­ner at my mum’s house. How she knew to pose the ques­tion re­mains a mys­tery, but she asked whether to ex­pect my name on the New Year Hon­ours list. I ex­plained the let­ter and that I was go­ing to de­cline the of­fer of an of­fer. I said it wasn’t a medal from a palace that I dream of when I raced my bike, that it felt like a so­cial rat­ing and a hi­er­ar­chy that I didn’t want to in­volve my­self in.

Boy did I get a telling. “Any pub­lic­ity is good pub­lic­ity, is it? Get your name in the news­pa­pers for turn­ing down an hon­our, make a big show of your­self, eh? Make sure ev­ery­one else feels stupid?” I quickly re­solved to be­lieve her: it would be dis­re­spect­ful to de­cline. I wrote to the palace and said I would ac­cept.

I hadn’t con­sulted my dad on the mat­ter. He found out when he read my name listed in the news­pa­per, and sent me a text: “See you’re an MBE now. You can only sell your soul once you know. Pa x.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.