Lancashire TelegraphBalding: Coming out will help sport (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Balding: Coming out will help sport

Lancashire Telegraph: Clare Balding thinks sportsmen and women should be honest about their sexuality Clare Balding thinks sportsmen and women should be honest about their sexuality

Clare Balding has encouraged gay sports men and women not to hide their sexuality, as she believes honesty will improve their performance.

The openly gay TV presenter said: "I think there is still a fear in sport that being open about your sexuality will affect sponsorship deals.

"My argument is that it shouldn't and it probably won't, but it may affect your performance in a positive way because if you're comfortable in your own skin, you perform better.

"I'm very strongly of the opinion that you cannot be ashamed of being gay.

"It's not to be commented on, not to become a headline and it doesn't need to be a story, it's just a fact; the same way that if you're getting married, you tell people you are getting married. I feel that's progress."

The 41-year-old broadcaster has become a household name in 2012, covering, among other things, the annual Boat Race, the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games. And she is now set to present prime-time entertainment show Britain's Brightest on Saturday nights on BBC One.

But Clare said: "I work very hard, and I'm doing more than I've ever done before, but my actual life hasn't changed that much. It still feels strange sometimes, because I forget that people recognise me and it surprises me, particularly when kids know who I am.

"What is important to me and what remains important is doing the job as well as you can. It comes down to how people respond to you in an emotional way, they remember how you made them feel."

:: Clare Balding is working with npower to launch an online energy archive called Remember How We Used To (see www.historypin.com/rememberhow). The site chronicles how energy has transformed our lives over the past 60 years.

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