Four Welsh sporting heroes have been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with former world marathon record holder Steve Jones finally rewarded with an MBE for his services to sport.
Joining him in receiving recognition are his 1984 Olympic Games British team-mate Nigel Walker, who is made OBE for his services to sport, while Wales team manager Jayne Ludlow has received an MBE for her outstanding services to women’s football in Wales.
Making up the ‘Fab Four’ is the current President of GB Hockey, Shelia Morrow, who is made OBE for her services to hockey. Like Jones and Ludlow, Morrow is a member of the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame Roll of Honour.
The honour for Ebbw Vale-born Jones, who stunned the athletics world with his win in the Chicago Marathon 35 years ago in a world record time of 2:08.05, comes despite him having spent the past 30 years living in the USA.
But the 63-year-old never forgot his Welsh roots and has played a key role in encouraging home spun athletes like Dewi Griffiths and helping to grow the influence of the Cardiff Half Marathon as the race ambassador.
He has also worked as a consultant to Scottish athletics distance runners and has been highly successful in Boulder as a distance coach to athletes who have competed at many major championships.
As well as setting a world record at the 1984 Chicago marathon, he went even quicker in retaining his title a year later (2:07.13) and also won global marathons at New York, Toronto and London.
He ran for Wales at three Commonwealth Games and for Britain at the Olympic Games, European and World Championships.
While Jones remains one of the greatest athletes ever produced by Wales, Ludlow is unquestionably the greatest female footballer. After a glittering playing career for Arsenal and Wales, she guided her home nation to the brink of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.
She won the first of 61 Wales caps aged 17 in 1996 and was at Arsenal 13 years, winning every club title available.
She then made a seamless transition into management and has become the face of women’s football in Wales, inspiring the national team to reach new heights and more girls than ever before to take up the sport.
Walker joined Jones at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a high hurdler and won a World Indoor Championships bronze medal. He also ran at the Commonwealth Games, World and European Championships before switching sports.
Having starred on the track he then transferred to rugby and played for Cardiff and Wales, winning 17 caps and scoring 12 tries. He then became head of sport at BBC Wales and is currently National Director at the English Institute of Sport.
Morrow won 112 caps for Wales and 24 more for Great Britain as a hockey player and captained both teams. She was selected in two Olympic Games squads by Team GB and was a judge at two more Games.
She worked as a PE teacher in Cardiff before working for Sport Wales and then Sport England. She became President of GB Hockey in 2017.