Amy Williams breezes back into Britain and heads to the car showroom

This article is more than 10 years old
• 'I live near a bus stop but I would like to have a car'
• Skeleton gold winner has some catching-up to do
Amy williams
Amy Williams arrives back at Heathrow's Terminal Five, courtesy of British Airways. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Amy Williams arrives back at Heathrow's Terminal Five, courtesy of British Airways. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Tue 2 Mar 2010 19.10 EST

Canada's all right but not for the whole weekend, someone once observed and yet it took 10 days for Amy Williams, Britain's solitary medal winner in Vancouver's Winter Olympics, to tear herself away following her thrilling skeleton run.

"I'm upset it's all over," said Williams after she arrived at Heathrow yesterday having stayed in Canada for the duration of the Games. The first Briton to win individual winter gold since Robin Cousins took the men's figure skating title at Lake Placid in 1980 and the first British woman since the figure skater Jeannette Altwegg in 1952, Williams sported a medal the size of a dinner gong.

Terminal 5 was hardly fit for a hero and when the Olympian was presented at an hotel beside the building, the British team and officials outnumbered the national newspaper reporters three to one. Today, however, Williams will take an open-top bus ride in her home town, Bath. She is used to public transport – the life of a struggling athlete – but with her new celebrity status she intends to buy a car.

"I've struggled without because I didn't want to waste money on it," she said. "And I do live near a bus stop. But I would quite like to have a car. I think there are going to be lots of places that I need to get to."

There was still a dazed look in her eyes that was surely only partly explained by the flight being delayed. This, after all, is one woman who is not used to arriving late and Williams sounded younger than her 27 years as she described what she will do now the Games are over. "I will just meet up with my friends. We've got a group and our favourite thing is to relax, cook a meal together, go the cinema.

"Most of my friends are athletes as well so we're always a bit tired after training hard, so I'm looking forward to doing that and looking forward to visiting all the people I've ignored for the last summer, because I've been training too hard."

One of the people she will not be catching up with is her rival Shelley Rudman, who won silver in Turin four years ago. The two fell out then about not sharing technological expertise, even though Rudman congratulated her in Vancouver. "There's been no contact," said Williams. "I believe she went home early. I'm not sure what she's up to. Why would our relationship change? It has been as it is for many, many years so there's no reason for it to change just because I've got a gold."

Britain's 52-strong squad won no other medals in Canada, despite £6.5m funding over the past four years, and Williams and her glinting medal seemed to highlight that failure rather than make up for it.

Andy Hunt, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, did not agree. "We had nine top-eight finishers and nine personal bests," he said. "We set our own medal target and achieved that, which was to do better than the silver we won in Turin. Getting our first gold medal for an individual woman in 58 years for me was a great achievement." And then Williams disappeared for an appearance on BBC's The One Show. The one and only, more like.