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Clare the Great

One of the things I am currently getting into, is not unsurprisingly, the London 2012 Olympics- yes I know that it is very hard to avoid, but despite the large dollops of cynicism we have put on ourselves, I think it is so far a raging success.

The opening ceremony was a revelation which demonstrated what a great decision it was to hire a supreme filmmaker like Danny Boyle to tell a story about Great Britain, what our makeup is, how we have evolved as a nation (or is that nations?) and as a group of people- and the ceremony kick started the whole event. Despite the shambles of G4S and ongoing ticketing issues, the Olympics themselves have really gripped our people- the crowds at Greenwich Park, the Aquatic Centre, at the road races and at the rowing, in particular, have not just been impressive in terms of the numbers appearing but in their enthusiasm- which in a lot of ways is so un-British!

However for me the star on TV has been the BBC with its tremendous coverage and in particular, Clare Balding who has rapidly become the jewel in the corporation’s coverage. This is her fifth Olympic games that she has covered and although her background and her speciality is horse racing (she was an amateur flat jockey), her knowledge and enthusiasm goes across the piece- she has covered Rugby League, coverage of major events such as the Lord Mayor’s Show and Trooping The Colour and even Crufts.

But on the current Olympics coverage it has been her anchoring of the Swimming meet from the Aquatic centre either with swimmers Mark Foster or Ian Thorpe that has been the most impressive – she has been able to get over to the audience a lot about the science of swimming competition and the back stories of swimmers such as Hannah Miley, Gemma Spofforth and Jemma Lowe to give you an insight into them and the competition. And as if that was not enough, Clare has also made a significant contribution to the enjoyment of the Equestrian events, watching them and offering comment from the Aquatic centre.

Overall the BBC coverage has been to my mind outstanding and you can now forgive them for what they did with their coverage of the Jubilee Regatta- this is the kind of thing that you pay your licence fee for and why it is so important to have a strong and free BBC.