The 2008 Beijing Olympics
on the BBC
BBC TV team Olympic impressions
One of BBC Sport's main presenters, Clare
fronts all its live racing coverage. A presenter
of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games
from Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004,
Clare also anchors horse trials and rugby
In 2002 and 2004 she was
one of the presenters of Sport Relief.
A regular contributor to BBC Radio 5 Live, in
2003 she branched out of sport to present
Housecall In The Country, a live weekday
lifestyle magazine show.
She has also worked
on the Lord Mayor's Show and Trooping The
Colour, both for BBC One. In 2005 Clare
hosted BBC Two's coverage of Crufts and
presented a 10-part series called Race Country,
exploring the lives of horses and people in
Clare was honoured with the
Horse Writers and Photographers Association
(HWPA) Racing Journalist of the Year Award in
2003 and in 2004 she won the HWPA Sir Peter
O'Sullevan Broadcaster of the Year award and
the prestigious Royal Television Society Sports
Presenter of the Year award.
"I think in broadcasting terms the Olympics
is the pinnacle of sports broadcasting. For
most of us, we're failed athletes and
whatever it is we would have chosen to do,
we failed, so to get selected for the
broadcasting team is a pretty big honour.
"I had the huge drama in Athens of Germany
winning the gold medal in the eventing and
then having it taken away so that was a big
story to be on.
"I saw two of Steve Redgrave's
gold medals – in Sydney for television and in
Atlanta for radio – and on both occasions I
was doing the interviews with friends and
family. Everyone back home was talking
about it and I was there!
"In Athens I was
doing the evening highlights show with Craig
Doyle which was great fun, and we got to
interview Kelly Holmes after her gold
medals, which was pretty exciting because
I'd been into the stadium so when she came
in later I was able to say 'I was there!' – not
that that really made her day or anything!
"I'm actually starting in the horse park in Hong
Kong for the Olympics, so I'll see that as well
as Beijing, where I'll be for the whole of the
"I think it will be very
interesting. It is a big culture change to
anything that I've been to before, and it'll be
interesting to see how the organisation works,
what's done well and what not quite so well.
"I'm very open-minded about it, I don't have
any preconceptions, I'm just looking forward
to it. It's definitely the highlight of the year.
"There isn't a state in the world that actually
has a perfect historical record and I'll be
interested to see close up what China is like
and how it works.
"I think the Games will be
on an immense scale because they can do
whatever they want to do. I think it will be
"With regard to specific events, I'm really
disappointed that Zara Phillips will miss the
eventing, but Mary King is still a great story
in that, given that I think this is her fifth or
sixth Olympics and she now has probably the
best horse she's had in her life.
"And I reckon
one of the major stars of these Olympics will
be Tom Daley, because he's so young, he's so
good, and so cute!
"The show jumpers will be fun; they have a
much younger team than usual and Ellen
Whittaker is one that could do pretty well.
"Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton and the
cycling team are going to do well, they'll be big
stories. The rowing team generally too – the
women's quad sculls are very good. It is the
one chance for those lesser sports to shine and
in a summer where we don't have England
playing in the European Championships in
football, this is the big chance for these other
sports to really come to the fore.
"I'll be interested to see what the Chinese
do and where they excel – and this is very
relevant to the Paralympics too.
I'm very much looking forward to Grant
Hackett – it will be his swansong. I love the
diving, I'll watch anybody diving, so that's fun.
And there are things like hockey and
badminton and taekwando that are just great
and you don't usually get to see them.
"Looking ahead to London 2012, I think it will
be a huge fillip for the nation. I've just finished
doing a documentary for Radio 4 on the 1948
Olympics which is the last time that they were
staged in London.
"When we staged 1908 and
1948 we were a world superpower and we
didn't need an ego boost; now we need to
find our feet. We are a financial centre but
clearly that is under some strain currently; we
are a very entrepreneurial country but we're
not China, and we're not India and we're not
Dubai, so what are we?
"We think we're not very good and we'll
never get everything done on time – well we
bloody well do! Every year we stage some of
the major events across the board, whether
it's sport or ceremonial or horticultural or
artistic or theatrical – we can put those
shows on and we do it very well and I think
it needs the Olympics for the rest of the
world to say 'Aren't they good?' and then
we'll start to say, well yes we are actually.
"We lack a bit of self-confidence right now. I
know it's expensive but I think that because
it's the Olympics and the Paralympics, we will
leave a legacy of attitude.
"The Paralympics for
me goes a long way to achieving that aim
because I believe that the Paralympics changes
the way people think. The Olympics changes
the way you feel, but the Paralympics changes
the way you think too. They were started in
the UK and the attitude here has always been
more, what can you do? rather than what
can't you do, and in that we're streets ahead
of Greece, China and even America with our
attitude towards disability. I think London
2012 will showcase that."