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I'm BBC Radio's swimming commentator, and I also commentate on basketball and ice hockey. I am the BBC TV commentator on diving.

I was born just a few hundred yards away from Lord's Cricket Ground in the Autumn of 1959, which would explain why cricket was my first real love and I was a Middlesex junior member.

My first venture into radio was with Capital Radio's Hullabaloo programme when I was 15, and I did a weekly feature called 'Pop Spot', which was about music not lemonade, by the way.

On leaving school at 17, I wanted to get into radio but there were no real openings then, so I ventured into the music business - music being my other great passion.

My first job was a glamorous one. Printing jukebox labels - I could probably have told you the 'A' and 'B' sides from every top-20 hit in 1977, but fortunately I just remember the 'A' sides now!

BBC Radio Medway gave me my first opportunity in February 1983. On recommendation from Rod Lucas, Kevin Geary, then Sports producer at the station, allowed me to present Out and About, the sport and music programme, which I did for about five years.

Fast forwarding to 1997, after five years at BBC Radio Sheffield I joined the 5 Live sports team, and during the last 11 years I have covered two Olympics, two Winter Olympics and three Commonwealth Games, along with four world long course swimming championships.

Aside from the Olympics, both winter and summer, my favourite yearly event is Wimbledon as I am a huge tennis fan and have commentated on 5 Live Sports Extra for the past six years.

In Beijing, I will be working with Karen Pickering and Steve Parry on the swimming for radio. Karen will assist me on the open water event, and then I transfer to television for the diving and some basketball commentary.

It's not all over then, as I will be staying on for the Paralympic swimming, where I will provide the television commentary along with Marc Woods.

All things considered, it's not a bad life!

Bob Ballard is a BBC reporter and commentator focusing on swimming and diving. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have. If they don't, you can contact us.


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