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Clare Balding: My decision to attend the Sochi Winter Games is putting ‘visibility before avoidance’

Aaron Day February 9, 2014
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Sports broadcaster Clare Balding has defended her decision to attend the Sochi Winter Games on Twitter, saying it would have been “easier to avoid going, but the easy option isn’t always the right one.”

Ms Balding, 42, was recently the target of a slew of criticism from Twitter users after it was revealed she would be part of the team covering the Sochi Winter Games, despite anti-gay legislation in Russia.

One user said: “principles before profit time?”

“No, I’d make more at home, be safer and have an easier life,” Ms Balding responded. “The reason I’m here is to do my job. Visibility before avoidance #pride.”

She also added: “I am glad I came. Would have been easier to avoid but the easy option isn’t always the right one.”

Other tweets were more homophobic and contained extreme death threats, with one user writing: “Clare Balding should be buried alive the fat dike.”

Alice Arnold, Ms Balding’s partner, hit back at these messages, responding: “..just to remind us that Russia is not the only country with homophobes.”

Ms Balding’s civil partner, former BBC Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold also recently said “Britain’s homophobia needs to be tackled before we turn to Russia’s.”

The journalist and writer commented on revelations that scores of schools in England and Wales had polices in place targeting the “promotion” of homosexuality, in language reminiscent of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.

Speaking on the “terror” of her coming out experience, Ms Balding previously said: “Lots of women don’t realise that they’re gay until they’re grown up. Particularly if they’re all doing the same thing, which is essentially looking for a husband. To go down the motorway and get off at a junction that isn’t marked, or to go against the traffic, is a difficult thing to do and I didn’t have much of a clue.”

More: Clare Balding, sochi, Winter Olympics

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