The swimmer, who won five world records as well as gold in the Olympics, said the entire system had changed, with “mere mortals” like him, now getting knighthoods instead of less er honours. Wilkie was awarded an MBE in 1977 for his service to swimming.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Wilkie said: “There is an imbalance, no doubt about it.
“By rights I should be a knight had I achieved now what I did back in my swimming career. It’s more of a personality cult now, with people like Mo Farah and Andy Murray getting knighthoods. They’re in the right place at the right time, and it’s politically correct to give certain people knighthoods.”
Wilkie was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame and International Swimming Hall of Fame.
He added: “A lot of sportsmen who are knights, I think “my god, how did they do that? but good luck to them. I don’t think it makes much difference to them. Being a knight, I think people think they’re more important than they really are.”