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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.

choccyp1g Wed 08-Jan-14 11:43:32

I loved your autobiography, and enjoyed your desert island disks recently.

My question is what sports do you take part in now? and what life long sport/exercise would you recommend as a good one to start as a teenager? Would it be the same for boys or girls?

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 08-Jan-14 11:53:57

Hello there Clare <beams>




So which will come first, sponsorship investment or media coverage?


Looking at Newton's sponsorship of the Women's Boat Race, and the difference it has made, and will make re gender equality and its profile (my rowing mad daughter has a friend currently on the Cambridge women's lightweight crew, we are SO proud) would suggest this is the way forward, but can see it is a bit chicken and egg.


My other question, and I know tis only one, but BIWI said I wasn't to ask, so I feel I must, do you knit or crochet? Would you be Team Knit or Team Hooker?

smile

MrsKwazii Wed 08-Jan-14 11:58:54

grin at you getting a woolly question in Pistey. Please do answer it Clare!

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Jan-14 11:59:46

Clare's here and just doing a tiny piece to camera for us (she's good at that I've heard) and will be answering questions in a jiffy.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:01:56

Hello, it's Clare here at Mumsnet Towers. I have a cup of coffee by my side and sushi on the way (which will hopefully help my brain work a little quicker) so I shall do my best to work my way through your questions and answer them as fully as I can. Thank you in advance for taking the time to ask them.
xx

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:06:22

peppersquint

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!)

Clare: This is really interesting because I've felt for a long time that sport can be taught in a more holistic way. For example, I love the Commonwealth Games because the different countries that are members of the Commonwealth fascinate me - what is their economy based on, what does their flag look like, what's their population and the geology of their country (I'm thinking of little islands like Vanuatu or Nieu) and that really stimulates my mind. Sport can be used as a way of teaching history, geography, maths and of course science (especially biology and the implications of nutrition).
Activity is good for the mind and body in any shape. I walk every day and it makes such a difference to my mental state. I would encourage your DD to do whatever makes her heart sing. If she doesn't like competitive sport, that's fine but I agree, being active every day is a huge bonus.

teaandcustardcreams Wed 08-Jan-14 12:07:11

Hi Clare,

Do you think coverage of women's sport (and women talking about men's sport) will grow in 2014, and what people could do to help?

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:08:12

Kveta

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!

Thank you Kveta. So pleased you enjoyed My Animals and Other Family

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 08-Jan-14 12:11:13

This is not a my question, but from my DC, I nearly forgot to ask...

Were you on a BA flight out of New York JFK due to leave last Thursday that was delayed by snow?


Only we were and my son was sure you were too, but I didn't see to know.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:11:24

Whitershadeofpale

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?

Thank you. It was a fascinating programme to make and I was shocked by elements of it - particularly the police brutality towards women and the force feeding in prison. I would love to work on more documentaries and that is certainly the plan. That one tied in particularly well to racing as it was the 100th anniversary of the 'Suffragette Derby' but I am sure I can find other links. I'd love to make one about women's football in the early 20th century - I'm intrigued by Lily Parr and the Dick, Kerr Ladies team.

tinygorilla Wed 08-Jan-14 12:11:32

Hi Clare - thanks so much for coming in!

In a slight Desert Island Discs rip off - if you could only take one animal to a desert island, what would you take? (for companionship - not eating)

CMOTDibbler Wed 08-Jan-14 12:14:38

Hi Clare, one of your many achievements that impress me is that when you were commentating at the Paralympics you concentrated on the sport, not the disability and no condescending 'oh, aren't they brave'.

Will you be commentating about Sochi?

BananaHammock23 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:14:55

Hi Clare. Are you feeling apprehensive about reporting on the Winter Olympics from Russia given their stance on homosexuality? A lot of gay sportsmen and women are boycotting it, did you consider doing the same?

R4 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:15:24

I'm not keen on competitive sport because I am rubbish at it. It's no fun being on the losing side all the time (especially if that 'side' is a team of one). sad
I much prefer exercise for the fun/benefit of it, rather than pitting myself against someone else.
Love Ramblings, Clare, keep it up!

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:16:16

TeacupDrama

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

Hopefully I've covered this in the first question I answered but I hate any child (boy or girl) to feel alienated by sport and I think there are ways of including everyone in the team, whether they be in charge of diet, tactics, transport or scouting for talent. There are many avenues open in sport to people without 'natural' sporting talent (although I am just reading 'Bounce' by Matthew Syed who argues that talent is over-rated and it's all about practice) and I would love to see those aspects reflected in school sports. Event management, for example is a huge business and I can see those who don't enjoy playing sport still playing a key part in organising the school sports day. It just takes a little imagination from the school!

CherButtons Wed 08-Jan-14 12:18:25

Hello Clare! <waves>

As I'm sure you are told all the time, your expert anchoring of the 2012 Olympic Games is one of the key things that sticks in my mind from that heady two weeks!

I was wondering how you think about that time now. I can't imagine what it was like to be 'on the inside', as it were, - do you have clear memories of each individual day? Or is it all a bit of a blur? Can you watch old clips or do you find it too nostalgic?

Enjoy your brew and sushi smile

Earthymama Wed 08-Jan-14 12:18:49

Hi Clare, thanks for doing this.

I having been watching Britain by Bike again, I love it.

I am not sporty at all, much to my regret. Again due to a very nervous mother and old-style PE teacher.

My question is; how can I encourage my grand-daughterto enjoy more organised activities? She is shy of being watched, something I share and I want her to overcome it as I know she would love things if the initial interactions didn't put her off.

If this doesn't happen, I am thinking of Pilates and Yoga ax well as swimming as activities that can fit into her life. Do you agree?

CocktailQueen Wed 08-Jan-14 12:19:03

Hi Clare
Am a complete fan of yours - I love how knowledgeable you are and how you can report on lots of different types of sport.

Can I ask, what is your favourite event to report on/cover? Is it the Sports personality of the year, a horse event such as the Horse of the year show, or something else?? Thank you!

Calypso2 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:20:41

Another huge fan here. I'd like to see more winter sports on television. Do you participate in any winter sports at all? Are you a snowboarder or skier? I'd like to see more winter sports on television. I don't think they get enough coverage.

LatinForTelly Wed 08-Jan-14 12:20:45

Hi Clare,

I very much enjoyed reading your book, and think you're a great role model for girls and young women.

I was struck by your self-belief and determination as you grew up. Which elements of your childhood do you think gave you these qualities, or do you think you were born with them? (I hope this isn't too personal.)

ChazMax Wed 08-Jan-14 12:20:53

Hi Clare,
Can I firstly say I'm a huge fan. I don't know anyone who doesn't think you're completely fabulous.
Can I ask you, when life throws you a curve ball and you feel you've taken a bit of a knock, how do you get back on your feet. Any tips?

Earthymama Wed 08-Jan-14 12:21:22

Oh yes, I too am worried about the Olympics and our gay folks who will be there.

I really think that attitudes like that should prevent countries from being awarded any major events.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:22:31

Mehrida

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?

I am very excited to be a part of BT Sport, which is championing women through the Action Women of the Year Awards (voting closes in 10 days time). For a major new sports broadcaster to be so committed to covering and writing about women's sport on its website will have a huge impact. Women's sport has been marginalised for far too long and BT Sport is helping to prove that the stories are just as strong, the characters just as vivid and the depth of talent just as impressive as men's sport. This, in my opinion, has been one of the strongest legacies of London 2012 and I think the strength of British women at both the Winter Olympics next month and the Commonwealth Games this summer will continue to offer young girls the examples they need to convince them that they can follow a career in sport as well as engaging the wider public to understanding more about women's sport and therefore caring more about it.
I have always felt that sports broadcasting is about making people care and you can't do that if the information isn't out there on a regular basis. That means results, fixtures and features. Women's sport is (I believe) on the brink of a major breakthrough in terms of getting coverage every week of the year instead of just during major mixed sport events. I talk to a lot of big businesses and am always pointing out to them the opportunities available in sponsorship of women's sport because there are so many good events and it is also, relatively, very affordable.

herecomesthsun Wed 08-Jan-14 12:23:02

oh hello, I'd like to say I loved, loved the book. I am a really non-sporty and very booky leftie arts grad sort of person, and what I really love is how you manage to speak to people across quite a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. I thought it was very honest, the book that is, as well. I heard you speak at Greenbelt (in between chasing my toddler); I thought it was fab that they actually invited you to speak against the background of a racecourse!

Having dived into books in the course of a rather sickly childhood, I am doing everything I can to encourage my kids to get involved in sport, and having a presenter like yourself with such intelligent, open enthusiasm is a great boon for the next generatin.

onwardsandsidewards Wed 08-Jan-14 12:23:09

Hello Clare, top tenuous claim to fame - I came up with the GoClare! hashtag on Twitter when AA Gill insulted you.

No question - just thanks for being out and vocal about feminism and women in the spotlight, it is hugely refreshing and encouraging to see and inspires others - I saw Keira Knightley commenting positively on feminism the other and am sure it all has a knock on effect so thank you.

Best of luck with all your projects, love watching you present and commentate and sport, lots more women's sport on TV please!

herecomesthsun Wed 08-Jan-14 12:23:48

generation

MishMoshi Wed 08-Jan-14 12:25:03

Hi Clare, I took my little girl & her friend, who loves football, to a craft afternoon recently. The stickers were in gender segregated pots and when my daughter's friend reached for the ones that said 'I love football' the worker told her, 'oh no, you don't want those!' 'Yes she does,' I said, but I see these messages for little girls everywhere.

I'm a big supporter of the Let Toys Be Toys campaign - Do you think that the toy industry, with it's pinkification and prettification of toys aimed at girls, can be held responsible for some of the attitudes girls grow up with - that it's more important to look good than to get sweaty, muscly and sporty?

tigga61 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:26:49

hi clare no questions would just like to say been a balding fan for a few yrs now and look forward to your crufts coverage, oh actually one question when will we see you oop nof?

HappyAsEyeAm Wed 08-Jan-14 12:27:39

Hello Clare, My question is whether you're happy at the way you are portrayed in the media by others, and whether you think that portrayal has changed? Social media has allowed you to put your views across and your take on life without anyone else being involved in the edit, as has writing newspaper columns, magazine articles and presenting. I just wondered whether you felt that other people presented you in a way that you were happy with.

I think you're fab, by the way. I like listening to you and I am a great admirer of your relaxed but very confident style, which is based on your obvious knowledge of what you are talking about!

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:28:22

legoplayingmumsunite

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?

I know there are many people out there who can add their own views on how much a longer school day would change their lives so feel free to engage on the subject but it seems to me that our school days are too short for pupils and for the child-caring parent to hold down even a part-time job. An extra hour, or even two, could change the whole picture. I would love that extra time to be spent on active exercise, art, music or drama - according to the child's interests and talent. I would love them to look forward to the end of the day as being full of the things that make their hearts sing. I had a conversation recently with the Minister for Children and Families and talked about this very thing. I also suggested a closer link between schools and the many, many gyms around the countries and using the sports that are Lottery Funded to engage more with school pupils as part of a pay-back (or pay it forward) relationship

Baggsy1 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:29:07

Claire,

Which female team sport in 2014 is likely to get the most media attention?

Do you think that the blue chip companies are paying enough attention to reaching girls in sports? I imagine it comes down to ROI - but do you think they are missing a trick?

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:29:53

chimchar

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

We had the most amazing time in Iceland and I would say it was magical in every sense. I would highly recommend it. We also loved Costa Rica, where you can combine an active adventure type holiday with a few days chilling out on the beach.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:32:10

Effjay

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?

I love equestrian sports, obviously, particularly eventing as that's what I wanted to do when I was young. Away from horses, tennis and golf are my favourites but I do like winter sports as well because they are so different and intriguing.

Jennywren3012 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:32:38

Is it difficult to get female sports persons to come on your show, I know you try and have at least one a week, or are they more reluctant? Male sports people still seem to take up the majority of your sofa.

Its the same with Question of Sport, they have become much better at showcasing at least one woman, but again they are always in the minority.

There are plenty of talented female athletes out there as you well know, just wondering if they are more reluctant to be in the limelight.

Your show on BT sport is brilliant by the way.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:33:06

Blondieminx

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

Thank you. I am genuinely enthusiastic about sport and I'm thrilled that comes across!

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:35:27

LottieJenkins

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?

Frankel on the flat because of his absolute brilliance and I still have a real soft spot for Desert Orchid over jumps. He was so extravagant and being grey, he stood out from the rest.

Baggsy1 Wed 08-Jan-14 12:36:44

Claire, Sponsorship question.

Which female team sport in 2014 is likely to get the most media attention?

Do you think that the blue chip companies are paying enough attention to reaching girls in sports? I imagine it comes down to ROI - but do you think they are missing a trick not sponsoring?

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:38:15

livelablove

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?

I know we could have a whole new thread on this subject! Mumsnet have told me they are planning on inviting a dog trainer to come and have a chat so I will leave it to the experts!

ClarissaG Wed 08-Jan-14 12:42:17

Do you think National Hunt lady jockeys can ever be considered equal to men? Whilst a lot of horses go better for a lady and ladies can be equal in skill, balance and race awareness, how important is physical strength and fitness where men, physiologically, will always be superior?

eggsandham Wed 08-Jan-14 12:42:24

Hi Clare. My question is about horse racing...are you allowed to bet on the horses? And if so, what's the best bet you've ever made :-)

My dad is a big horse racing fan - my childhood was spent at race courses across the country (I still enjoy going now, despite this!) He'd always be looking for tips, giveaways etc from the people on the Morning Line etc, whereas I'd place my bets on the basis of a mixture of form, jockey, odds and the name of the horse. And it'd be me who'd end up with more winners!

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:43:23

nobutreally

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?

That's a very good point about enthusiasm and positivity and yes, I do think women's sport has that in bucket loads. I should say that as well as BT Sport, the BBC has continued to cover women's sport extensively - particularly with the new Saturday programme Inspire. Well worth catching up on iPlayer if you've missed it. Also, 5 Live has made much more effort to cover women's sport in its regular bulletins and I'm sure the newspapers will catch up.... eventually. Luckily, the internet is now the way most people access their news and both the BBC website and the BT Sport website are working hard to give full and in depth coverage to women's sport.... It will get better!

checkmates Wed 08-Jan-14 12:44:45

Sorry I missed you Clare . Admired your style on "force feeding" monstrosity (TV)

peppersquint Wed 08-Jan-14 12:44:48

Thanks Clare - I like the phrase "whatever makes your heart sing". Many thanks and keep up the good work.

Hi Clare! I'm a huge fan too and cheered you on as you've made great stands on behalf of women's rights (my favourite being commenting on male golf clubs!)

I was surprised you went to Paris to interview Mike Tyson though. I know he's served his time but he still maintains the allegations of rape were false. I feel uncomfortable about him being a sporting role model and being given PR as a result. How was meeting him?

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:47:07

choccyp1g

I loved your autobiography, and enjoyed your desert island disks recently.

My question is what sports do you take part in now? and what life long sport/exercise would you recommend as a good one to start as a teenager? Would it be the same for boys or girls?

I play golf and I walk (I know that's not a sport but it's my favourite daily activity). I ride occasionally and on Monday I was riding an Icelandic horse through the ice. It was pretty chilly but lovely. I would recommend finding a club near you that has good instructors and that may lead a teenager to a sport you wouldn't have necessarily considered, like Taekwondo or Table Tennis.

snice Wed 08-Jan-14 12:47:41

Hi claire. Did you ever consider going in to racehorse training? Are there any flat female trainers ?
(Another big fan of yours btw)

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:48:25

RatherBeOnThePiste

This is not a my question, but from my DC, I nearly forgot to ask...

Were you on a BA flight out of New York JFK due to leave last Thursday that was delayed by snow?

Only we were and my son was sure you were too, but I didn't see to know.

My Mum was in New York - it might have been her!

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:49:33

tinygorilla

Hi Clare - thanks so much for coming in!

In a slight Desert Island Discs rip off - if you could only take one animal to a desert island, what would you take? (for companionship - not eating)

Definitely a dog

IDoBelieveInFairiesIDoIDo Wed 08-Jan-14 12:49:42

"Whatever makes their heart sing" properly choked me up. That's exactly what I want for my children. Thanks for the inspiration.

feetheart Wed 08-Jan-14 12:52:05

Also love "Whatever makes their heart sing" - such positive enthusiasm for life is all I want for my DC smile

Thanks for coming to chat and as no-one else has asked it - favourite biscuit?

livelablove Wed 08-Jan-14 12:52:10

Thanks for your reply Claire, great news about the dog trainer MNHQ

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Jan-14 12:53:41

Hi Clare, Last time you visited us was just before London Olympics. We thought you may like to see our celebration of the olympics and paralympics playmobil-style

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:55:09

HappyAsEyeAm

Hello Clare, My question is whether you're happy at the way you are portrayed in the media by others, and whether you think that portrayal has changed? Social media has allowed you to put your views across and your take on life without anyone else being involved in the edit, as has writing newspaper columns, magazine articles and presenting. I just wondered whether you felt that other people presented you in a way that you were happy with.

I think you're fab, by the way. I like listening to you and I am a great admirer of your relaxed but very confident style, which is based on your obvious knowledge of what you are talking about!

I've always felt that coverage of women, whether they be in business, politics, or in broadcasting, focuses far too heavily on what they look like. This happens sometimes to men but it's not nearly as pronounced. It's a drip, drip effect that means women worry more about what they look like because they know they're going to be judged on it and so it goes on. It's just a shame because I think it takes away from more important qualities - such as intelligence, leadership, eloquence and imagination.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 12:59:27

ClarissaG

Do you think National Hunt lady jockeys can ever be considered equal to men? Whilst a lot of horses go better for a lady and ladies can be equal in skill, balance and race awareness, how important is physical strength and fitness where men, physiologically, will always be superior?

Equestrian sports are interesting in terms of gender balance because in eventing, dressage or show jumping they have been genuinely equal for so long that no one would even think that a woman wouldn't do just as good a job as a man. In racing, jockeys are dependent upon owners and trainers giving them the chance on good horses. Even the best jockeys are no good if the horse isn't up to it. In jump racing, Nina Carberry, Katie Walsh and Lucy Alexander are doing a fine job of proving how strong, fit and tactically aware they are and that's how it will happen - they will ride big race winners and more and more young girls will realise it's possible and therefore the talent pool widens. You do have to be strong as a jockey, but not as strong as a weightlifter or an Ironman Triathlete. Women tend to be naturally lighter than men so there are advantages in the racing world and I don't think it will be too long before a female jockey wins the Derby and/or the Grand National.

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:01:31

I really support your efforts. I have boys (sport mad) but my nieces are both sport mad and play to a very high level in their respective sports. It gives them a dimension to their lives which I see lacking in other teenage girls. They are an inspiration to my boys, who are a few years younger.
My boys play rugby and the team at their club which is most successful is the ladies team. My eldest is in awe of them.
No real question I suppose. I just wanted to say what a brilliant campaign this is smile

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 13:02:20

Earthymama

Oh yes, I too am worried about the Olympics and our gay folks who will be there.

I really think that attitudes like that should prevent countries from being awarded any major events.

As I said on 'Desert Island Discs' I think it is better that I go than that I don't go. I am pleased that Barack Obama is sending Billie-Jean King as part of his delegation. It's an important message.

ClareBalding Wed 08-Jan-14 13:05:31

That's all we've got time for, I'm afraid. I'm off to BT Sport now to prep for this weekend's show. Don't forget to have a look at their website, click on 'Women in Sport' and you can see all the nominees for the Action Woman of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on 'The Clare Balding Show' on Jan 25th.
Thank you so much for your questions and your support. I feel stronger knowing I have the Mumsnetters behind me. Thank you.
Clare
x

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:06:19

Actually I sort of do have a question. I watched an amazing documentary over christmas where Sam Tompkins went to a school to help underachieveing kids. He was helped by Kevin Sinfield and Kevin Peacock. Rugby players have a rep for being a bit monosylabic but they gave heartfelt, brilliant talks to the kids. Is this something that could be done perhaps with female sportspeople and girls?

jonicomelately Wed 08-Jan-14 13:07:21

Oh. She's gone. Bye Clare.

livelablove Wed 08-Jan-14 13:11:00

Thanks Clare, you were very interesting to chat with.

oh grrr just missed her. Did anyone ask her what she thought about the Cheltenham ladies "no more page 3 sponsorship?

SuburbanCrofter Wed 08-Jan-14 17:26:06

Oh, I'm too late! She's a legend - inventing the MoBot, her interview with Bert le Clos at the Olympics, I could go on!

LottieJenkins Wed 08-Jan-14 18:34:43

She answered my question!!! grin

Darn I should have popped by to see if she would notice my user name grin

Mehrida Wed 08-Jan-14 21:30:32

Ooh I had a question answered, yay. Thanks MN for having a real female role model on. I'm surprised she got relatively so few questions compared to some though.

I guess that kind of demonstrates part of the problem with not enough women engaging with sport.

Ps anyone know what BTsport are up to these days..?

Damn, missed it! Love CB and Alice too.

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