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Women2Day - Lifestyle: Gabby Logan's flying high

Gabby Logan will be flying the flag for England - and women - when she travels to South Africa as the BBC's England team reporter for the World Cup.

Gabby Logan

Gabby Logan seems to have it all: A successful television career, adorable twins, a happy marriage - plus, she's about to jet off to South Africa for a month.

Sitting in a sunny glass office at the BBC's Television Centre, the Leeds-born presenter is preparing for her key role in the corporation's World Cup coverage.

With her blonde hair down and dressed in a summery top, she chats excitedly about the forthcoming tournament and looks entirely happy with life. But it hasn't always been so easy.

This time four years ago, even then an accomplished broadcaster at ITV, Gabby was widely reported as being marginalised in favour of her male colleagues.

She had become a mother in 2005, and covered her first World Cup overseas in 2006, but speculation grew over her status at ITV Sport when the returning Steve Rider joined Jim Rosenthal as co-host on the main shows.

With ITV also reportedly banning her from participating in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Gabby soon left the channel.

But the 37-year-old doesn't bear a grudge.

"I don't think you should ever look back and feel that you regret something," she says.

"At the last World Cup, I was an ITV anchor and if you'd said to me during that World Cup, 'Oh, next time around you'll be working for the BBC', I wouldn't have believed you."

Fast-forward four years and Gabby is sitting pretty with one of the top jobs in sports broadcasting.

"It's almost like starting again in a lot of ways, to try and get the confidence of the people you're working with," she says.

"It's tough to build relationships again when you've been with a company for eight or nine years, but it's been a brilliant experience and I've done things that I would never have dreamed possible.

"Things happen for a reason. I think you have to look at the positive in the situation and not dwell on what might have been, or get bitter."

Gabby, the daughter of former Wales international footballer Terry Yorath, and an international gymnast in her teens, has made strides since moving to the BBC in January 2007.

She's covered Wimbledon for Radio 5 Live, the Six Nations for television, and presented the corporation's flagship football programme Match Of The Day.

"Working on the Beijing Olympics was amazing, and hopefully I'm going to be here when 2012 is on," she says, eyes twinkling.

"All those things are fantastic and I love the breadth of the stuff I can do here."

She baulks at the suggestion there is any continuing sexism in sports broadcasting.

"Having done this job or been in this environment since 1996, when I first joined Sky Sports, it's a long time to still talk about that..."

She pauses, before adding: "I am where I am and I'm doing what I'm doing. I think everybody in this industry has to work hard, whoever you are, male or female."

No sooner were the ITV shackles off than Gabby took up a place on Strictly Come Dancing in the 2007 series, appearing opposite her husband (former Scotland rugby international) Kenny Logan, whom she married in 2001.

The couple's appearance on the show was a big draw for viewers, many of them aware of a difficult part of the Logans' past.

Like many couples, they had trouble conceiving and, desperate to start a family, turned to IVF treatment.

The presenter has been endearingly candid about their experience, and concedes they were lucky it worked so well.

"It's not the way that you necessarily think you're going to get pregnant, but its the way that worked for us in the end," she confides.

"It's nearly six years since we went through the whole thing but obviously there were a couple of years before that with all the other things that go on when you can't conceive a baby naturally and you really want to have a family."

In the end, Gabby says warmly, it worked out well.

"I think we were strong with each other; we were a good team together and we got the result that we wanted, which was a family," she says, smiling wistfully.

"When you have the children at the end of it you can only see it as a positive experience. Obviously, had I gone through seven or eight IVF cycles and not got pregnant, then I'd probably feel very different about the experience, so it's very hard.

"I was lucky. I didn't feel too unbalanced throughout the process and, hey, it worked first time for us, so that is a really positive experience for me, but I understand that's not always the case."

On June 4, Gabby leaves her twins behind with her husband to be the BBC's England team reporter, embedded with the squad at their camp in Rustenberg.

"My job is to be with the England team, so I'm doing presentation on site and reporting and stuff," she says, attempting to control her excitement.

Her job will be to cover stories, conduct interviews and provide a running commentary on the national side's progress through the tournament, feeding back to the main studio. She'll also report pitchside at their matches.

It's a busy schedule, but it's all in a day's (or month's) work for a modern mum.

"Like a lot of mums, you juggle your family life and work life and somehow get through it all without dropping plates too often," she jokes.

"Sometimes they drop, you know, but like a lot people it's a balancing act."

But Gabby has a trick up her sleeve to bring her luck.

"Whenever I do a new show I always want to wear something red because the Chinese think red is the colour of luck. Obviously if I'm not wearing outer clothing that's red then the under clothing would be red - so my secret's out there!"

:: Please note: Gabby Logan will be part of the BBC's line-up for their World Cup coverage, which begins on Friday 11 June on BBC One.

 

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