Amy takes ice dream with a 'pinch of salt'

Riding triumphantly through her home city in an open-top bus with thousands cheering all the way may not be quite as hazardous as hurtling headlong down a deadly refrigerated ice tube high in the Rockies at 90mph but for Britain's new sporting sweetheart it was even more exhilarating.

Fresh from carrying the British flag in the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, and clutching her gold medal, Amy Williams returned from Vancouver to savour the hero's welcome in Bath on Wednesday, when the crowds included 1,500 schoolchildren chanting: "Amy! Amy!" On Thursday morning she woke to six pages devoted to her in the Bath Chronicle, big licks again in the nationals plus an invitation to appear on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.

She also found time for yet another press conference, this time to thank all those who backed her, including funders UK Sport and BAE Systems, and Southampton and Bath Universities who provided technological support and training facilities. Her beloved Arthur, the skeleton in her cupboard, stood in front of her, a badge of honour as she smilingly acknowledged the tributes and acclamations – the very essence of what Britain wants an Olympic champion to be.

"Being on the bus was just a fantastic day for me," she said as we chatted later. "I was amazed just how many people turned up, it seemed the whole city came together and lined the streets. It was crazy, I never thought it would be like this. I was lost for words. In the two weeks since the race I've been pinching myself. Coming home to that reception really hit me, and made it real. Wow!

"Then Jonathan Ross invited me on to his show next week and there's been a call from Blue Peter. I think I'm going on A Question of Sport too. All this fuss is something I am not used to. It's all a bit out of my comfort zone really but I know I have to do it. It still seems strange when people ask for my autograph." She pledges she will never change. "I'll always be me." The Queen of Speed she may be but her brother Simon says she will still be called upon to power-wash the patio or clean the bathroom.

"As soon as I won, I realised my life was going to change, but ultimately I am still just an athlete doing my job and that's what will keep me grounded and normal," says the 27-year-old Williams. "All I am focused on is training for the next Olympics in Sochi because physically I feel I can get even faster and stronger. I'm happy the skeleton has been brought into the limelight but it's still a little sport. I'm taking it all with a pinch of salt."

The bus ride was not quite a unique experience as she usually travels on public transport. "I live quite near a bus stop so it is handy, but I suppose now I'll have to think about a car."

Arthur has helped her find fame but she knows it is unlikely she will ever find fortune. "I've read through all my cuttings and some of the papers are saying how much money I'm going to make. But honestly, I don't think I will. This is not a sport where you make piles of money. No one gets rich. You do it because you love it.

"I certainly haven't got any money in my pocket yet and we'll have to wait and see if any sponsorship deals come though. I'd love a car and I'd be more than happy to splash sponsorship over the side."

There is no side to this slider. What you see is what you get. When we last met in Bath a year ago, she said she had no boyfriend and was looking for a "rich Argentinian polo player". Well, she has settled for a not-so-rich Czech bob-sledder, 32-year-old Petr Narovec, now unemployed after finishing his Olympic contract, who says: "Amy is a sweetheart with the biggest heart I've ever known."

Says Williams: "Originally my plan was to move over to Prague and train with him there but after all this I shall have to re-evaluate. We'll travel back and forth to see each other. My base is still Bath, my coach is here and I am still going to stick to the same programme." And, of course, still bobbing along with Arthur.

But for Amy and Arthur, what a bleak midwinter games it would have been for Team GB. The curlers couldn't do it (will there be some sweeping changes there?), neither could the Kerrs. But Curly-Wurly came up with the goods and the gold and now her life, like her sport, really is in the fast lane.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam