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
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
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

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?