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
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star