Britain's Olympic and Paralympic heroes are to be given a separate honours list to ensure that there is no limit on the number of awards handed out, it has emerged.
In normal years, the committee which makes recommendations for sporting honours, chaired by Olympic supremo Lord Coe, is able to put forward one name for a knighthood, four for CBEs, 20 OBEs and 38 MBEs, the Daily Telegraph reported.
But it is understood Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to place awards arising from the London 2012 Games outside the usual system, to enable the New Year's Honours list to reflect the scale of achievement by British athletes.
One source said: "They will be dealt with separately as it has been an exceptional year."
With Team GB scooping 29 Olympic golds and the Paralympics squad so far totting up more than 100 medals - including 31 golds - there are expectations of a slew of honours.
Popular Olympic champions such as Bradley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, as well as Paralympians Sarah Storey - who brought her lifetime tally of golds up to a record-equalling 11 - and Ellie Simmonds, could be recognised with a gong.
By allowing the establishment of a separate list for the London Games, Mr Cameron would avoid the potential embarrassment of seeing sporting personalities outnumbered by civil servants in the honours list in a year in which the Olympics and Paralympics have captured the imagination of the country.