Five time Olympic Gold Medalist, Sir Steve Redgrave, has revealed today that he ‘lives in constant fear of being found out as being nothing special,’ despite the plaudits heaped upon him by a British press desperate to try and hang on to the notion that the UK is still an international sporting giant.’

Sir Steve explained: ‘At the end of the day all I did was paddle a boat, and although I paddled it pretty well that’s really all it was. There were probably only about ten of us in total on the world stage worth considering in my heyday, and as at least a half of us were Brits, the phrase “big fish in a minuscule pond” just about sums me up.’

‘Nobody was more surprised than I was to be awarded all the gongs I’ve received over the years. I mean I’m not exactly Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods or Sachin Tendulkar now am I?”

But Lord Sebastian Coe has moved quickly to try and play down Redgrave’s comments. He told reporters earlier: ‘That’s just Sir Steve all over. Such a great guy. When he won his 5th Gold there was at least an estimated worldwide viewing audience of up to nearly another 320 people, if you exclude the twenty-two million watching in Britain.’

‘Make no mistake about it, the UK is still a global sporting giant. If you want proof of that then you need look no further than young Tom Daley. You show me where there’s anybody in the world who can jump into a swimming pool better than he can! And what about all those stupid sports with rich people and dancing horses?’