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Clare Balding webchat - Wednesday 8 January, 12 midday - 1pm

(91 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Jan-14 20:35:41

Our first webchat guest for 2014 is <drumroll> Clare Balding. Clare last joined us back in July 2012 on publication of her autobiography My Animals and other Family. Shortly after that, she lead us through the incredible journey that was the London Olympic and Paralympic Games - and emerged from the experience with the words 'national' and 'treasure' surgically attached to her name.

This year, Clare will be talking about the BT Action Woman of the Year Awards: a public vote to find the finest sportswoman of 2013. There's a fabulous line-up of 10 contenders - including Ellie Simmonds, Christine Ohuruogu, downhill biker Rachel Atherton and freestyle skier Katie Summerhayes - and the winner will be announced on the Clare Balding Show on Saturday 25th January. Please do cast your vote before 19th January.

Clare is passionate about boosting the profile of women's sports which currently only get 5% of the coverage and 0.5% of the sponsorship money received by men's sports. Her show every week commits to showing at least one female guest, and her view is that the more the public get to know our sportswomen, the more they will care about them.

Come and chat to Clare on Wednesday between midday and 1pm, or post a question to her in advance on this thread.

peppersquint Tue 07-Jan-14 11:12:43

Hi Clare,

I want to ask you about the effects of the term "sport" on young people's morale.

For background, I loved sport as a child (netball, hockey, swimming etc..) but like many girls lost interest when I reached puberty. However, my DD is totally adverse to any sports (not through want of trying on our part) - she has been like this since a toddler (she is now 16).

She feels intimidated, lacks basic skills, forgets the rules, is non competitive, is bullied (by teachers) and lacks confidence in her abilities.
We have always encouraged her to try her best and be positive - emphasised that is more important to "try" than be the best. However she still hates sport (it is compulsory at her school until aged 18).

So my question is can we not concentrate on "being active" as well as sports. My DD loves walking, is very active musically and will happily yomp through snow and up most hills.

None of these are really sports though - I wonder if too much emphasis is based on sport rather than activity. What do you think? (sorry that was a very long winded question!)

RatherBeOnThePiste Tue 07-Jan-14 16:03:27

Oh I just luffs Clare Balding! Huzzah!!

I think of a question now smile

BIWI Tue 07-Jan-14 17:09:21

Don't ask her about wool, Pistey ...

Kveta Tue 07-Jan-14 17:56:30

oh, I am a total convert to Clare Balding after reading her book (which was brilliant, so well written!)!

not sure I have any questions, just wanted to say I'm a fan!

Hi Claire,

I loved the programme you made about Emily Davison. Was the reality of life as a suffragette really that much of a shock to you and has it affected your outlook on the feminist movement? Also do you have any plans to make any similar programmes?

TeacupDrama Tue 07-Jan-14 18:12:01

I like your book and your style, I like playing tennis now ( but not at school being a bit rubbish so then sent to play on the bumpy court were you had no change of returning any ball that bounced as it could fly any which way) but school sport was torture cross country running etc which we had to do when hockey pitch was waterlogged so also running in drizzle or even pouring rain while PE staff watched from warm and dry with binoculars,

why do you think PE teachers get away with humiliating pupils that are not good at PE concentrating on the best for school honour and ignoring or worse bullying or sending the not so good off to amuse themselves with the balls when you simply can not imagine this happening in English maths or history, personally I think this type of attitude from several of the sporty teachers who just do not get that
a.) some do not like sport/ team sport / communal showers and
b.) some are not good and though they may improve will never be good enough to be in the "team"
is responsible for so many adults and teens hating sport and vowing never to do it again and what do you think the solution is?

this does not mean i think sports days are wrong or that competition is bad it was not losing that made me hate sport but attitude of teachers etc; I think it is right that those that win get prizes, just like academics getting good grades everyone can't have C in maths to be fair neither should everyone get prize for running but just like you should not tease someone that struggles with numeracy neither should you tease someone that can't run fast, kick a ball straight or jump a hurdle

Mehrida Tue 07-Jan-14 19:40:33

Clare, thanks for almost single handedly making people realise that women are just as knowledgable and passionate as men about sport. And for not starving/botoxing yourself silly in the process.

I play hockey and we try to encourage not just girls but grown women back to sport. The Olympics (and Kate Middleton) helped a lot, but interest waned after the immediate aftermath. Do you think Glasgow could learn any lessons from London on keeping momentum going after the initial excitement dies down?

legoplayingmumsunite Tue 07-Jan-14 19:54:14

Read your interview in Good Housekeeping and thought your idea of having school an hour longer each day so that kids could do sport every day was fab. Can you expand a bit on that please?

Ziggyzoom Tue 07-Jan-14 20:03:34

I was very sporty as a child and carried on into adulthood. I still take part every now and again (as much as my hip/back/kids/dog will allow). With two young daughters who are keen to get involved in sport, I have noticed how conspicuously absent clubs (for youngsters) specialising in female-dominated competitive sports are. There are loads of clubs for 7+ boys in football, rugby, cricket, but none locally for netball, hockey etc. I think this has an influence on the competitive nature of boys as compared to girls.

Why do you think this is?
What can be done about it?

Keep up the great work!

Not a question really but I wanted to say congratulations on your and Alice's wedding plans grin and how happy it makes my wife and I nowadays to see out lesbian couples in the media just getting on with being who they are. Thank you!

chimchar Tue 07-Jan-14 20:41:00

Hi Clare.

Wanted to say how great it is for those us with girls to have you as a role model....smile

I follow you on twitter and have enjoyed hearing about your trip to Iceland. It looked amazing!

My question...where is the most magical place you have been? I'm looking for inspiration for my 40th birthday this year. smile

Effjay Tue 07-Jan-14 20:51:41

Hi there!
Literally finished the last page of your book yesterday and did not want it to end! My question is simple - which sport do you enjoy commentating on the most?

Rainbowshine Tue 07-Jan-14 21:47:05

Hi Clare

I wondered what you think about some of the sports commentators who seem to forget we're in 2014 and make comments about female sports people based on their appearance/attractiveness rather than their performance - have you ever had to challenge any colleagues because of this?

Loved my animals and other family - the best autobiography I've read for ages!

Blondieminx Tue 07-Jan-14 22:16:19

Hi Claire, thanks for coming to MN! I haven't got anything to ask but I just wanted to say you're a fabulous broadcaster and I really enjoy listening/watching what you do. I am not sporty but you make sports stuff seem more interesting (to me) than other presenters grin

ListWriter Tue 07-Jan-14 23:26:08

No question but wanted to say a big thanks for all the work you do promoting women in sport and the media. Happy 2014!

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 08-Jan-14 00:05:14

Hi Claire,

Given the homophobic stance of the Russian govt. How do you think visiting athletes & commentators are going to have to deal with the winter Olympics balancing professional and personal beliefs?

MrsKwazii Wed 08-Jan-14 00:07:03

Hello Clare, I loved your autobiography - especially the part where you won your weight in champagne my kind of sporting prize wink

I have two daughters and hope that they'll be able to find and take part in a sport they love, but I worry that the message sent out by large parts of the media and society in general is that womens' sports are very much second-rate and not as interesting or important as mens' sports and competitions.

The BT sports award sounds great, but I want to see a time when women are properly represented and as likely to win the Sports Personality of the Year awards and be included in sports broadcasting and reporting as the norm rather than the exception. Do you think that day will come? And when?

VworpVworp Wed 08-Jan-14 00:19:16

<gulps, and waves shyly from the back>
Welcome to MN, Clare smile

LottieJenkins Wed 08-Jan-14 07:47:34

Hi Clare. I read your book and enjoyed it very much. I loved the stories of the racing stables and the horses. I was lucky enough to grow up living on the farm next door to Geoff Hubbard and Ferdie Murphy's racing yard and was invited to all their Open Days. I was going Point to Point Racing with my family while I was still in my pushchair! My question is other than your father's horses who is/was your favourite racehorse?

livelablove Wed 08-Jan-14 08:59:21

Loved your book too Clare. We've just been having a chat about dogs, how lovely most are especially with families and kids, but how they are getting a bad reputation because some ignorant owners do not care for and train them properly. What does Clare think should be done about this?

NigelMolesworth Wed 08-Jan-14 10:02:36

Hi Clare - more fans here! DH and I think you are great. You always sound extremely knowledgable and conduct fantastic interviews - Bert LeClos comes to mind particularly!

The sad thing for me is that during London 2012, several of the large broadsheets ran editorials bemoaning the lack of coverage of women's sports. And I thought 'Maybe, just maybe, things are about to change'. Yet a year and a half on, a quick glance through the Times sports section yesterday shows a small column about Laura Robson and pages and pages covering men's rugby, football and cricket.

The BBC does seem to be making small steps towards including more women athletes generally (the 3 nominees for Young Sports Personality were all female for example) and yet it still appears tokenism - the Solheim Cup team were completely overlooked in favour of the Lions (who get masses of coverage, financial support etc etc).

I have two DDs (aged 7 and 4) who spent last summer on their bikes arguing over who was going to be Laura Trott/Lizzie Armitstead/Emma Pooley. Trying to find mainstream coverage to keep pushing girls sport as normal and not something odd that very few people do, is hard.

So, in a very long winded way blush, my question is:
Is the problem that editors think that women's sport is rubbish, or do they just think that no-one is interested in anything other than mens football, rugby, cricket?

HowAboutNo Wed 08-Jan-14 10:35:29

Hi Clare. Sorry if this has been asked/is common knowledge, but what is your favourite sporting moment of all time?

You made the Olympics and Paralympics absolutely fantastic, thank you.

nobutreally Wed 08-Jan-14 10:36:04

First off, another one wanting to say a huge thank you to you - dh & I both adore the way you talk about sport - your coverage of Olympics/Paralympics was an absolute highlight of the events for us (along with The Last Leg!). We happened to see you (marching between events) on the Olympic park when we were there for the wheelchair basketball and I had to be physically restrained from falling at your feet. My husband reckoned you wouldn't like it grin

I listened to you on desert island disks recently, and was struck by your comment that the enthusiasm around the Olympics/paralympics really chimed with your presenting style. Thinking about women's sport, what do you think would help engage that sense of dynamism and hopefulness, now the Olympic spirit seems to be dying away?

KatherineRTaylor Wed 08-Jan-14 11:05:15

Message deleted by Mumsnet as it was spam.

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