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Never mind the medal winners, the biggest star of the Olympics and Paralympics this summer was the mighty Balding, 41.

We now have withdrawal symptoms, so feel the need to celebrate our love. Now, where did we put that petition to make her a Dame? She is keeping the spirit of 1981 alive with the Lady Diana flick that she refuses to update into anything approaching a modern-day hairstyle and will probably still be sporting when she is 90 (as would Diana herself, we imagine).

She's paid her dues - one of her first presenting gigs was doing the sport on Chris Evans's show on Radio 1. (Remember that?) She calls a spade a spade. Even if that means telling jockey Liam Treadwell that he's got rubbish teeth. (She said sorry afterwards 'cos she's also a lady.) She stands up for herself. When a writer made a rude comment about her sexuality in a broadsheet, she complained and they had to apologise.

She might seem like the school swot but she was actually caught shoplifting and suspended from school. She nicked a pair of wind-up mechanical plastic feet for a girl named Snorter. Yes, that's the kind of people Clare went to school with.

She has presented five Olympic Games and four Paralympic games, and is the only broadcaster who did both games this year. Eat that, Gary Lineker.

She was a jockey from 1988 to 1993.

She's proper posh - her Dad was the Queen's racehorse trainer.

She's happy to laugh at herself and describes herself in her autobiography, My Animals and Other Family as 'a thickthighed young woman whose bottom has a gravitational force all of its own'.

She had amazing chemistry with co-host, ex jockey Willie Carson.

She rocks on Twitter. Especially the pictures she posts of mascot Mandeville at work with her. The Twitterati decided he'd 'had an accident' but Clare insisted he was wearing go-faster pants.

She invented the 'mobot'. Nuff said.

She's out, proud, and married to Alice Arnold.

head girl She was head girl (obvs) and went to school with Miranda Hart. We wish we'd been at that school.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 16, 2012
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