She has been heralded as the Grande Dame of British TV since the Olympics. Who? Clare Balding. She has been on our television screens presenting horse racing since 1995 and since has presented many sports including four Olympic Games. She has also presented BBC shows Britain By Bike, Crufts, and has worked on Britain’s Hidden Heritage and Countryfile.
Clare Balding is also about to release a book called My Animals and other Family which is a story about her childhood up to the age of 19. “I grew up in a rather unusual household,” Clare explains. “My father was a champion race horse trainer, so I grew up surrounded by 100 thoroughbreds, by mares, and foals, by a pack of Boxers and Lurchers, and to be perfectly honest, my brother Andrew and I came pretty near the bottom of the pecking order. Whilst many believe Clare Balding has had a privileged life, her family actually had little money. She was bullied at primary school for being too posh and bullied at boarding school for not being rich enough. Clare spent a lot of her younger years trying to accepted, not only at school but by her father. Clare became a jockey but this led to problems as she was not a natural jockey size. As a result Clare made her self sick before the obligatory pre race public weigh in’s so that she would be the correct weight. She also abused laxatives and made herself sick after meals. She didn’t realize at the time but she had an eating disorder. Yet in the racing world this extreme eating is prevalent. In the end Clare decided that as she couldn’t keep the weight down that she would give up racing. It is at this point that Clare joined a BBC training program and became a presenter. But, despite the fact Clare Balding has been on our televisions screens for many years, it is the London Olympics that have thrown her into the lime light. In an interview with Heat Magazine she was asked what her proudest moment of the Olympics was. Clare replied that it was inventing the Mobot and seeing Usain Bolt doing the Mobot, to Mo!
My Animals and other Family will be released on the 13th September and can be pre ordered at Amazon. WHSmith, and Waterstones. Even though every chapter is about on of Clare’s pets, it is essentially a story about her childhood and family: ‘I thought that if I made every chapter about one of my pets, I could kid myself that I wasn’t writing about myself. But I think I actually end up revealing more than I meant to.’
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