With a body this taut and toned you might expect Kirsty Gallacher to be competing in, rather than covering, the Olympics. She spills her body-beautiful secrets…
Under the harsh lights of our running track, Kirsty Gallacher is examining a pair of shorts she’s about to don for her Fabulous shoot.
“They are most definitely micro shorts!” she says. “I’m just happy the trainers have got a bit of a heel to give me a bit of help.”
She shouldn’t worry. Now 36 and a mother of two, sports presenter Kirsty – who could definitely give Megan Fox, 10 years her junior, a run for her money – still looks fantastic.
But the daughter of former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, is more excited by the prospect of seeing Olympic athletes than she is posing as one.
“I can’t wait for the Games. What makes me happiest is that I am going to be there not only working, but also watching all these incredible athletes. I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve got so much respect for every single person there – it will be fantastic,” she says.
Kirsty is especially looking forward to covering London 2012 in her new role at Sky Sports News, since the working hours mean a far happier home life where she’s wife to former England rugby player Paul Sampson and mum to Oscar, five, and two-year-old Jude.
Exhausted from her crack-of-dawn shifts on Good Morning Sports Fans last year, she told bosses that she couldn’t continue with the breakfast show, because she was turning into a “monster” at home.
She says: “I was getting up every day at 3am and going to work. Oscar had just started school. I could do some pickups, but couldn’t take him to school, and that really bothered me.
“On top of that I was just so tired. By 4pm I became a monster. I’d feed the kids and then I’d be shouting at them at bath time because I didn’t have any patience. I’d apologise to Oscar for being bad-tempered and try to make him understand that it was because I was tired from work.
“After six months I realised I didn’t want that. I love my job, but I also love my kids and I love my husband. I want to be a good wife and mother, so I explained how I was feeling.”
Thankfully Kirsty’s bosses at Sky were more than understanding and arrangements were swiftly put in place to move her to afternoons.
“Everyone was amazing and I ended up doing the news later in the day, which I love and I’m so much happier. I do all the school runs and pickup on Friday, I leave the house in the afternoon and get back around 8pm, which works much better.
“I’d rather be happy in all aspects of my life than have just one thing going well and everything else falling apart.”
One stand-out moment this year was breaking the news on air that BFF Zara Phillips, 31, who Kirsty knows through Paul’s friendship with the royal’s husband Mike Tindall, 33, made the Olympic team.
She says: “I was beside myself when I read it out, I had to stop myself punching the air, which would have been very unprofessional. I was so glad for her because lots of people thought it was a foregone conclusion, but she never did at all.
“You don’t get to be on the team because you’re a member of the Royal family, it’s down to your talents, so I was really happy. She texted me to say she was thrilled and now I’m hardly seeing her because she’s training so hard. We tend
to chat in the mornings when she’s out on her horse.”
With never-ending pins, a flat stomach and arms that Michelle Obama would envy, Kirsty could probably pass for an athlete herself.
When she first embarked on her presenting career back in 1998, after joining Sky Sports as a production assistant two years earlier, she became a lads’ mag cover girl thanks to her stunning looks and body. She has said in the past that she regretted ever stripping down to her underwear for photographs, but now she shakes her head.
“I think once I hit my 30s, I just became comfortable in myself. I’m not naturally a showy person,” she says. “If people look at me I want it to be for a reason. I don’t regret anything, but having a ‘good’ body is all about having a ‘healthy, fit’ body.
“I’m much more into promoting good eating and exercise and wanting women to have strong healthy bodies.
“I’ve never really dieted, but I have been about the same weight [8st 7lb and 5ft 5in tall] most of my life, with the exception of my pregnancies.”
Kirsty’s husband Paul, 34, who she met in 1999 at a charity event, has a big influence on how she maintains her figure.
“He’s an athlete and healthy eating and fitness are a massive part of his life. He has incredible willpower, which I really respect. I’m not so driven as he is, but I’m pretty good with food and I try to exercise as much as I can.
“I’m pretty low maintenance. I try to exercise twice a week – either a 20-minute sprint or rowing. I eat as much clean food as I can – lots of salads and raw food – but it’s just all about balance really and I don’t snack.
“At the moment I’m probably eating less than I’ve ever eaten because I’m working on a rolling news programme. I know a lot of people get bored and snack, but it’s never something I’ve done. I’m not into chocolate. My parents
didn’t use food as treats – nothing was forbidden, but I was never brought up to associate food with comfort, so I think that’s all down to them.”
And with Oscar and Jude, Kirsty is following suit.
“I’m very relaxed about food. They eat well at home, but they do have chips and chocolate, because they’ll crave it more if you deny it. Neither of them have ever had a McDonald’s or Coca-Cola, though.
“They’re both good eaters and they both love sports. Oscar has an incredible knowledge of football and tennis, which makes me laugh out loud sometimes. He’s unbelievable.”
In many ways, Kirsty was born a golden girl. She grew up with her mother and famous dad in posh Wentworth, Surrey, where neighbours (and friends) included Bruce Forsyth and the Duchess of York.
At school she excelled at sports – particularly sprinting and tennis. “If I could have done anything I would have loved to have been a tennis player. But I didn’t have that absolute commitment and determination you really need,” she says.
A few weeks ago she had the incredible privilege of carrying the Olympic torch.
“I felt so proud to put on the Olympic tracksuit. My part of the journey was in Wigan, and there was such a great atmosphere. You got this taste of what the Games are going to be like.
“I got to keep the torch and unfortunately for anyone who comes round to my house, I whip it out and show it off. Am I going to sell it on eBay. Are you kidding? It isn’t going anywhere!”
Kirsty’s relationship is rock solid, but she is very aware of the stresses on high-profile relationships and refers to Myleene Klass’ recent marriage split. “I love Myleene,” she says of the 34-year-old TV presenter. “She’s such a lovely girl. I’m so sad for her.”
She also mentions her close friend Georgie Thompson, 34, who split from Declan Donnelly, 36, last year after they were introduced by Kirsty in 2009. “She’s really happy, she’s travelling all over the place doing the Formula One coverage.”
While her top priority remains her boys, Kirsty reveals that she’s currently spending every spare minute studying for a qualification in law.
“I’m studying for a diploma in media law so all my spare time is taken up with writing essays and going through legal cases,” she says.
“I’m doing it because I think it’s massively important for my job. I know a lot about sport, but there are more and more legal cases in sport that I have to cover – like the recent Harry Redknapp trial. So it’s important to be on top of it, and this is something I wanted to do to be better at my job.”
All this on her plate and yet there could still be time for baby number three. Kirsty confesses she hasn’t given up hope of having a little girl.
“I’m going to give it a couple of years,” she grins. “But if it doesn’t happen I’m happy. I’m so happy in my 30s. I do a job I love and feel really passionate about and I have the best kids and a great husband.”
Quick off the mark
So, Kirsty, any superstitions?
I never over-rehearse for anything.
Closest brush with death?
I was once on a plane with my family going from Barbados to Union Island, and the weather was terrible. I was terrified.
Being suspended in the air. I wouldn’t do a bungee jump for £1billion.
My husband Paul on our wedding day. It was the kiss that meant the most.
I once spent a lot of money on a watch. But I saw Paris Hilton had one, and everyone had one, so I haven’t worn it once.
Dream dinner party guests?
Tennis player Henri Leconte, Stephen Fry, Marilyn Monroe, golfer Seve Ballesteros, Oscar Wilde and Elizabeth I.
Last time you cried?
When my hen Stella died last week. She was seven years old and I loved her.
Ever done anything illegal?
Rioja. I love it.
Last book read?
McNae’s Essential Law For Journalists.
Most unappealing habit?
Constantly asking for tea and then leaving lots of cups to go cold.
My friends would describe me as…
Manic and a bit nuts.
● Kirsty presents Sky Sports News, channel 405.