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Gabby on the go

You would have to run just to keep up with Gabby Logan, such is her hectic schedule. We were supposed to have met mid-afternoon for a leisurely chat amid the cloistered confines of Malmaison – a prelude to her speaking at a Sport Leeds seminar at the John Charles Centre for Sport.

But her train was delayed due to high winds, which meant our interview was also blown off course.

In the end, I managed to grab her as she waited for a train to take her back to London.

So, was she pleased to be back in her home city?

"All my family are in Leeds, my auntie works at the sports centre, my cousin helped build it... I only wish I'd had more time to see people.

Dynamic

"Leeds has changed a lot. I think it's always been a dynamic city and now it's very cosmopolitan. It has brilliant sporting facilities and fabulous restaurants.

"Leeds always feels quite contained to me, it's not too spread out. The traffic is bad but then it's like that in every city now. Leeds is still very much based around the centre, whereas somewhere like London is much more spread out, with many different centres.

"I like that about Leeds. The centre is still the heartbeat of the city. You can get anything you want in Leeds today."

Gabby Logan, nee Yorath, daughter of famous Welsh international and Leeds United footballer Terry Yorath, became accustomed to media intrusion from a young age.

She believes that helped make her entry into the world of television a little easier.

"I think the move into TV was less stressful given the background I have had. My father was a professional footballer and there were always journalists coming to the house and TV crews around. It was a natural progression really."

Gabby was always mad about sport and particularly took to gymnastics, gaining eighth place when representing Wales at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

When she went to read law at university, she found herself at a loose end with only nine hours of lectures a week.

It prompted her to get into other things, like presenting the campus radio show and writing for the student magazine.

After university she landed a job at Metro Radio in Newcastle and was then headhunted as a presenter for Sky Sports.

She was then poached by ITV, where she worked for nine years, before moving to the BBC to present Inside Sport and her own Saturday morning show on BBC Radio Five Live.

Last year, she took part in Strictly Come Dancing – ITV had banned her from participating in the previous series – but was voted off within a month, despite her obvious talent, while husband and Scotland international rugby player Kenny remained in the competition.

Her competitive streak came to the surface during her time in the show and she was clearly disappointed to be voted off.

"I did enjoy it, in as much as it was a fabulous show to be part of.

"I love learning a new skill and I was really looking forward to it. When you get to 34 it's not every day you get to do something new.

"I felt like the experience was quite short and I didn't get the chance to learn as many dances as I would have liked.

Disappointed

"Being voted off was something I was disappointed about. I knew what I was getting myself into. I had never trained in dance before and I wanted to learn it. The dances were very difficult and it was one of the most nerve-wracking things I have ever done.”

She is, if anything, determined, an admirable quality for the mother-of-two who recently began hosting television coverage of the Six Nations rugby tournament. the job means she has to travel every weekend.

“At the moment I seem to have a lot of travel in my life, through my work. I was given the Six Nations to do, so I’m having to go to Dublin every weekend. It’s just the nature of the job. It’s not something I had this time last year and it’s something I am trying to phase out.”

Her next major project is a new website – www.doosport.com – a one-stop shop for anything sporty.

She said: “I’ve been working for about a year-and-a-half on it and I am hoping it will really take off.

“It came about because we were talking about how to get more young girls into sport and there was the whole Facebook thing, but I think people are kind of getting past that now.

“Our idea was to create a hub where people can go to get information on any kind of sport they want.

“It will also be a forum and contain all kinds of things from food diaries to training schedules.

“I feel quite passionate about getting people into sport. Anything you want to say about sport you can do so on ‘doosport.’

“We’re a few months away from the launch but it’s something I will be spending a lot of time on in the next few years. I want to encourage people to have a more active lifestyle and get them into sport.”

neil.hudson@ypn.co.uk

 
 
 

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