clare balding olympics

Olympics: Clare Balding admits thyroid cancer battle left her with ‘worries’ about her career

She fronts the BBC's Today at the Games show with Alex Scott

Clare Balding is a familiar face on British TV screens – especially so at the moment as she fronts the BBC’s Olympics 2020 evening coverage.

Appearing alongside former footballer Alex Scott, Clare actually has a lesser-known sporting heritage of her own.

And, not only that, she’s actually descended from royalty!

Read on for all you’ve ever needed to know about the Today at the Games star.

clare balding olympics
Clare Balding hosts the BBC’s Olympics evening coverage with Alex Scott (Credit: Splash News)

So how did Clare Balding shoot to fame? Did she play a sport?

Clare actually does have a solid sporting heritage.

She has previously admitted that she grew up in a racing yard and her family has a rich history of training winners of the Grand National, the Derby and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Not only that, but Clare herself was a leading amateur flat jockey from 1988 to 1993.

She was also named Champion Lady Rider in 1990.

clare balding olympics
Clare actually has her own sporting heritage (Credit: Splash News)

So how did Olympics host Clare Balding get into presenting?

Clare started out on radio, signing up to become a BBC trainee in 1994.

The following June she made the leap to TV, introducing the highlights of Royal Ascot.

In 1996, she started live presenting, and took over as the BBC’s lead horse racing presenter in 1997.

When it comes to the Olympics, Clare is something of a veteran, having reported from seven Olympics and four Paralympics.

Read more: Alex Scott ‘tipped to become the new Gary Lineker’

She’s also been the face of the BBC’s rugby league coverage and live events including the Lord Mayor’s Show and Trooping the Colour.

Sport aside, Clare is a keen animal lover and fronted the BBC’s coverage of Crufts from 2004 till 2009. Then, in 2013, she moved to Channel 4 to front its coverage of the dog show.

She also fronted Channel 4 Racing’s coverage from 2013 to 2016.

These days, Clare is a regular on Celebrity Gogglebox, plus she has her own show – The Clare Balding Show – on BBC 2 and BT Sport.

Who is Clare Balding married to?

Clare and wife Alice Arnold tied the knot in 2015 and they share a pretty cute cat called Eric.

Read more: Clare Balding accused of ‘belittling’ wife Alice on Celebrity Gogglebox

The ladies were left heartbroken when their 15-year-old Tibetan terrier Archie died last summer.

The couple are regulars on Celebrity Gogglebox.

clare balding
Clare and Alice married in 2015 (Credit: Splash News)

Clare’s cancer diagnosis

In May 2009, Clare announced that she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and detailed her worries.

At the time, she said: “So far there has been no real side effects. I have been wheezing slightly but other than that I feel fine.

“My main worry is my voice because that is what I do.”

She had radioactive iodine treatment and, in August of the same year, announced it had been successful.

Speaking in 2011, Clare revealed that she’d had a further scare and a “little operation” to remove a lymph node. She previously had her thyroid gland removed.

Thankfully, she revealed: “But I had a lovely letter from my oncologist just after Christmas saying: ‘Hurrah, no more treatment,’ so I am very happy about that.”

So how is Clare related to royalty?

Clare’s great-great-grandparents are actually descendants of Henry VII, so she has very very distant links to royalty.

She is also the 11-times-great-granddaughter of Oliver Cromwell.

Meanwhile, Miranda Hart and Clare are also 10th cousins!

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Catch Clare on Olympic 2020: Today at the Games tonight (July 27) on BBC One at 7.30pm.

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor