It has been announced that lesbian broadcaster Clare Balding will be heading the coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).
Her résumé already includes coverage of not only the Summer Olympics, but the Paralympics in London; however, the fact that a lesbian has been selected to for the job is certain to be seen as a statement, especially after American President Barack Obama selected multiple high-profile gay athletes for the US delegation to the Games.
Balding told press she intends to travel to Russia to cover the Olympics “because I am a sports presenter who happens to be gay.”
She explained, “I think the best way of enlightening societies that are not as open-minded as our own is not to be cowed into submission.”
The BBC announced previously that it will provide over 650 hours of live-action footage from the Sochi Olympics for viewers in the United Kingdom; 200 hours will air on television, and the rest on live streams online.
The lead executive of major events for BBC Sport, Ron Chakraborty, told press, “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.”
Balding’s co-hosts in Sochi will include Hazel Irvine, Jonathan Edwards, the 2010 gold medalist Amy Williams, and other former Olympic athletes.