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Gay presenter Clare Balding to lead BBC coverage of Sochi

Sports broadcaster believes the best way of enlightening societies not as open-minded is not to be 'cowed into submission'
Clare Balding will not be 'cowed into submission' by not hosting the BBC coverage of Sochi Olympics in Russia.

Clare Balding will be leading the British coverage of Sochi Olympics in Russia.

The lesbian broadcaster will be hosting the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as provide commentary on many of the sports.

While Balding impressed millions with her comprehensive coverage of the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, it will sure be seen as a statement against Russia’s gay propaganda laws.

She said she would present from Russia ‘because I am a sports presenter who happens to be gay’.

‘I think the best way of enlightening societies that are not as open-minded as our own is not to be cowed into submission,’ Balding said.

The broadcaster has announced it will deliver over 650 hours of live action from the Sochi Olympics across digital platforms. There will be 200 hours on network TV, as well as two red button streams.

Ron Chakraborty, lead executive of major events for BBC Sport, said: ‘We are very proud to be able to offer such extensive coverage from Sochi 2014 - after delivering London 2012 we're once again at the forefront of bringing the most innovative and accessible multi-platform sports coverage to our audiences.

‘The Winter Olympics is a big part of a fantastic year of sport on the BBC.’

She will be sharing hosting duties with Hazel Irvine, Jonathan Edwards, 2010 gold medallist Amy Williams among many other former Olympians.

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