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SHE makes no bones about it - she only tried the skeleton bob "for a laugh". But now Amy Williams is our Winter Olympics golden girl.

The 27-year-old - nicknamed Curly Wurly for her wavy hair - blew away all the competition at the Vancouver games to deliver the first individual British gold for 30 years.

And last night her family were delightedly celebrating Amy's triumph.

Brother Simon, 28, said: "Amy phoned home at 3.30am and said, 'It's madness. I can't believe I've done it'. She was on such a high - we all were.

"The funny thing is she used to be a 400-metre runner and hadn't even heard of the skeleton bob until she went along to a push-track trial eight years ago. It's typical of Amy to say, 'I may as well give it a shot for a laugh'. And now look at her - she's a proper champion."

Amy's twin sister Ruth Fisher, from Wantage, Oxon, added: "We're so, so proud of her but I still can't really take it in."

Back in her home town of Bath, Amy's grandmother Kathleen Williams, 86, said: "I stayed up late to watch it on TV. I just couldn't be more proud of her."

After narrowly missing out on competing in Turin in 2006, Amy was determined to succeed and put herself through a gruelling six-day-a-week training regime for 11 months of the year.

In the run-up to the Games, she increased to three two-hour training sessions every day. Amy, studying for a Sports Performance degree at Bath University, said: "From sitting here four years ago, I've just worked really hard. Every decision I made was, 'Is this going to help me go to the Olympics or not?'. I've probably been a bit of a bore the last few years - but it's all paid off."

Her mum Jan, 62, a former midwife, and father Ian, 56, a chemistry professor at Bath University, cheered on their daughter in Vancouver with Amy's boyfriend, Slovakia bobsleigh competitor Petr Narovec, whom Early run... sister Ruth in front and Amy, four, behind, in 1985 Amy met in training 18 months ago. Today, she will celebrate her win by watching Petr, 32, compete on the same track.

Amy began in the sport in 2002 after seeing a poster and going along to a push-start trial at university.

Phil Searle, of the British Bob Skeleton Association, said: "Her goal for the last four years has been to win an Olympic medal - all her hard work has really paid off."

Skeleton Bob: The bare bones THE sport of skeleton racing dates back to 1882 when British soldiers based in Switzerland built a toboggan run between the towns of Davos and Klosters.

In 1892, Brit L.P. Child designed a metal sled, nicknamed a "skeleton" due to its appearance but it wasn't included in the Olympics till 1999.

Athletes sprint 20 to 30m, accelerating the sled before jumping head-first on to their stomach.

Amy's win is all the more remarkable as the UK does not have a full skeleton track - just a dry starting section near Bath.


She celebrates with mum Jan Amy realises she's won gold Primitive... only UK course in Bath Triumph... Amy in bob and, above, joy at win
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 21, 2010
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