Olympic hero Etienne Stott, who hails from Bedford was conferred as an Honorary Freeman of Bedford Borough on Monday.
The gold medal-winning canoeist, 33, who attended Castle Lower School, Goldington Middle School and Biddenham Upper School and also remains a member of the Viking Kayak Club in Bedford, was presented with a framed Deed of Conferment by the Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson.
Etienne joins the likes of Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe and the 134 Squadron Air Training Corps to be awarded the highest honour the town of Bedford can bestow.
He said: “It has been a whirlwind few months since the Olympics and this is a wonderful honour to round off a fantastic 2012.
“I am very grateful to receive this honour and I would also like to thank all the people of Bedford Borough for their support throughout the year.”
Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “This is the highest honour we can bestow on an individual and it is richly deserved.
“Etienne thrilled us all with his performance at the Olympic Games in London by winning gold, and his efforts stood out even amongst a long list of memorable sporting moments in 2012.
“Etienne has gone to great lengths to share his triumph with the community since that day and through activities such as numerous school visits, attendance at local events and much more he has shown what an inspirational role model he is, especially for young people locally.
“It was a privilege to present Etienne with this honour, and to have the chance to once again say ‘well done’ for his outstanding achievements and his contribution both to his sport and to Bedford Borough.”