In recognition of his services to the sport of sailing during a career spanning more than 20 years to date, Thomson was given the rank of Knight (“Chevalier”) of the National Order of Merit. He received a medal and certificate in a ceremony, held yesterday [Thursday, June 13] at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Kensington Palace Gardens. At 45-years old, Thomson is well below the average age of admission to the prestigious group of awardees and is among just a handful of non-French sailors to have ever been presented the honour by the French state.
On being awarded the honour, Thomson said: “I’m honoured and humbled to receive this award from the French Embassy. France holds a special place in my heart. It is where I have experienced some of the greatest moments in my career so far, and I have been warmly welcomed by the French people who are so passionate about this sport. I’d like to thank the Embassy and the Ambassador for this recognition, as well as my family, friends, team and the public who have supported me every step of the way”.
Jean-Pierre Jouyet, France’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, added: “I am thrilled that Mr. Thomson has been honoured with the Ordre national du Mérite. It symbolises France’s recognition of his contribution to sailing and the wider world of sports. In addition to being a great champion, Alex Thomson is a true gentleman and an example for the younger generations, conveying the values of hard work, courage and humility!”