Sports presenter Clare Balding is to receive a special award at next month’s BAFTA Television Awards.
She will be recognised for her ‘Outstanding Achievement in Factual Presenting’ at the ceremony to be held at London’s Royal Festival Hall on May 12.
The BAFTA committee described her work covering London 2012 – on the BBC for the Olympics and on Channel 4 for the Paralympics – had made her ‘a national treasure’.
The Special Award is given in honour of Richard Dimbleby, and previous recipients include Andrew Marr, Jon Snow, Katie Adie and most recently Jamie Oliver.
Balding, 42, has anchored sports coverage on the BBC of the last 15 years on television and radio, and more recently for Channel 4 on the Paralympics and horse racing.
She received a wide variety of critical acclaim from the press and viewing public for her work during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Since the conclusion of the Games she has won a host of presenting awards and on receiving her latest, Balding said: “I am in complete shock, I can’t believe I’ve been given such an extraordinary honour and I am totally delighted.
“I may not stop smiling until the night”
BAFTA’s Special Award recognises the year’s most important personal contribution on screen in factual television and is being given in appreciation of Clare’s incredible dedication to presenting across sporting events and entertainment series.
Andrew Newman, Chairman of BAFTA’s Television Committee, said: “Clare’s body of work over the last 13 years speaks for itself.
“But it was through her expert coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games that Clare became a national treasure.
“With her warmth and charisma, she helped bring the country together as we celebrated in Team GB and Paralympic GB’s success.
“She is a trusted and intelligent live presenter with an ability to transcend genre, and we’re delighted to honour her contribution to television at this year’s BAFTA ceremony.”
Since Clare made her television debut in 1995 introducing BBC TV highlights at Royal Ascot, she has gone on to present some of the most prestigious events in the world.
These include five Olympic Games and four Paralympic Games. She has also been the face of horse racing, her first sporting love and the sport which raised her to prominance amongst sports fans, for both the BBC and Channel 4 since 1997.
Her expert knowledge across a wide range of topics has made her a trusted and admired television personality, proven by her coverage of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
She hosted numerous events at the Olympics, including swimming, equestrian, triathlon and women’s boxing, while on Channel 4 during the Paralympics she hosted the primetime evening slot alongside Ade Adepitan.
Following her London 2012 successes, Balding moved into prime-time Saturday night television with her BBC One show Britain’s Brightest and Radio 4 walking programme Ramblings.
She was also signed up by Channel 4 to host its exclusive coverage of British horse racing events, including the Grand National, Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot, and will present a new sports chat show on the new BT Sport channel from the summer.
Her first book, My Animals and Other Family – based on her experiences growing up “in a rather unusual household” – was a bestseller which won autobiography of the year at the National Book Awards.
Balding will receive the award in front of many famous faces and special guests at the 2013 Arqiva BAFTA Television Awards, which takes place at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, May 12, hosted by Graham Norton, and will be broadcast on BBC One.
BBC Sport also has two nominations in the sports and live events category, including its coverage of the men’s singles final at Wimbledon and Olympics ‘Super Saturday.