Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold, has been knighted in a New Year Honours list dominated by London 2012 medallists.
The cyclist appears on a special list drawn up to recognise 78 Games heroes.
Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey becomes a dame after taking four golds while the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, Ben Ainslie, is knighted.
Katherine Grainger, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and David Weir become CBEs, and Andy Murray is an OBE.
And the men behind cycling and rowing success, performance directors Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, also become sirs.
Away from the Games, there are OBEs for actor Ewan McGregor and fashion designer Stella McCartney, while illustrator Quentin Blake was knighted on the main list for those not involved in London 2012.
There is also a knighthood for the industrial designer, Kenneth Grange, the man behind the UK's first parking meter, the InterCity 125 train and the Kodak Instamatic camera.
Singer Kate Bush and artist Tracey Emin are made CBEs, an honour also bestowed on former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, for her services to dance and to charity. Comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd, 82, co-wrote TV shows including the BBC's 'Allo 'Allo and Are You Being Served is among the OBEs.
There is also a CBE for Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in recognition of her service to women's issues and to charity in the UK and overseas. The first female foreign secretary Margaret Beckett becomes a dame.
For the first time, the Cabinet Office has published citations giving details of why the highest honours have been made following a complaint from MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee that the process should be more transparent.
But much of the attention will centre on the people rewarded for making the two London Games such a success.
Affectionately known as Wiggo, the first British winner of the Tour said: "I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour.
"But there's a slight element of disbelief and it will take a while to sink in."
Known for his sideburns and his retro Mod fashion sense, Sir Bradley already had a CBE.
Storey, who is expecting her first child, is honoured for services to para-cycling after her London medal haul took her gold medal total to 11, which equals Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts as one of the country's most successful Paralympians.
The 35-year-old from Disley in Cheshire said: "Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud."
Some of the biggest names of London 2012 received CBEs - the UK's most successful female rower, Katherine Grainger, the poster girl of the Games, Jessica Ennis, and wheelchair athlete David "The Weirwolf" Weir. Weir won four gold medals in the 5,000m, 1500m, 800m and marathon at the 2012 Paralympics.
Joining their ranks with his first honour is athlete Mo Farah, who lifted the nation with his double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.
His first came during a pulsating 46 minutes in the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday, 4 August, when Team GB picked up three gold medals - Farah in the 10,000m, Ennis in the heptathlete and Greg Rutherford in the long jump, an achievement that earned him an MBE.
Andy Murray was rewarded with a CBE in a year which saw him win Olympic gold and become the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open.
Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, 18, now has an OBE to add to the MBE she won in 2009, the youngest person to do so aged 14.
Some of the people who helped to make the games such a success were recognised, including Lord Coe, who becomes a Companion of Honour, a special honour given for service of conspicuous national importance and limited to 65 people at any one time.
It is an exclusive club and now also includes Professor Higgs, who predicted a new particle, the Higgs Boson, in the 1960s, and this year the particle was proved to exist.
But one name missing from the list is film and theatre director Danny Boyle, whose artistic vision was so spectacularly realised in the Olympic opening ceremony but who is believed to have turned one down.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said an unprecedented number of sportspeople had received honours, with 123 awards compared to 44 in the last list. Of these, 78 were related to the Olympics or Paralympics.
He said there were four criteria in deciding which athletes should be awarded including longevity in the sport, general performance and how much they give back to the sporting community.
The sporting honours committee also assesses what stage the individual is in their career in terms of whether they are likely to be competing for a further number of years.
He added that 72% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.
They include Penelope Clough, 53, who becomes an MBE after campaigning for a change in the law related to bail, following the murder of her daughter Jane by her ex-partner.
The man committed the offence after being released on bail but following the work of Ms Clough, prosecutors are now able to challenge judges' bail decisions in the High Court.
Recipients of the British Empire Medal (BEM), reintroduced in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours, include Robert Clinton for his work with the Veterans Aid charity, which looks after homeless ex-service personnel.
The Foreign Office's diplomatic and overseas list honouring those living or working abroad includes recognition for codebreaker Raymond Roberts, who is made an MBE for services to Bletchley Park. Alison Shalaby, who is the chief executive officer of Reunite, becomes a CBE for services to the prevention and resolution of international parental child abduction.
Some 31 head teachers have been recognised, including Joan McVittie, who transformed two schools in deprived areas of London and Sally Coates, who has overseen huge improvements at Burlington Danes Academy in west London. Both become Dames.
In the world of business, former head of the Financial Services Authority Hector Sants who was in charge of regulation at the start of the credit crisis, has been knighted, while Alan Budd, who was on the first Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee in 1997, becomes a Knight of the Grand Cross.
Prof Simon Wessely, a leading researcher into the mental health of military personnel who heads the department of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, has been knighted.
The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe is knighted.