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Skeleton winner Lizzy Yarnold sticks to the gold routine

GO to any bar in Rosa Khutor, the mountain resort high above Sochi, and you will find Olympians winning gold, silver and bronze medals for partying - their Games spirit being found at the bottom of a vodka bottle.

Lizzy Yarnold shows off her gold medal   Photograph: PA
Lizzy Yarnold shows off her gold medal Photograph: PA

Just don't expect to see Lizzy Yarnold among them.

Yarnold returned to her room in the athletes' village after winning women's skeleton gold on Friday and took out her notepad, recording meticulous track notes from her golden runs so she can be even faster when she next returns to the venue.

She then had three slices of pizza, nibbled some chocolate her boyfriend had bought her for Valentine's Day and went to bed. Yesterday morning she woke up and listened to The Archers; the farmer's daughter gets her daily fix of the everyday story of country folk in Ambridge wherever she travels.

But she penned her own script for a happy ending as the new golden girl of Team GB wept when she was presented wth her winner's medal yesterday.

"It's slowly sinking in. I don't think anyone can prepare for winning an Olympic gold medal, it's just very special," she said.

"As soon as I finished on Friday I started writing my track notes, it's something I always do. It sounds crazy because I won by nearly a second, but I've been thinking about the four runs and how I could have got them faster. There is so much to improve on."

Yarnold always knew she wanted to be an athlete, but grew up admiring fellow Olympic champion Denise Lewis and dreaming of following her lead as a heptathlete.

Her journey to skeleton success started with a talent camp just six years ago, after being whittled down from 1500 hopefuls to a place on the development squad. However, her need for speed goes back a few more years.

"I think my parents knew I was crazy when we went to the Millennium Dome and I had a go on one of the rides," she said. "I was only about 12 and there was this ride that dropped you from a big height so your stomach was in your mouth. I remember getting off and telling my dad I wanted another go. I love that feeling of going really fast."

Yesterday's medal ceremony was an emotional high water mark for the 24-year-old, who was already shedding tears before she even set foot on the podium.

"I can't believe I cried like a baby," said Yarnold. "The medal is much better than I ever imagined. I've been working a lifetime for this. I could see all my family and friends at the front. I couldn't have done it without them."

Amy Williams retired after winning her skeleton gold in Vancouver, her body no longer able to cope with the strains of an intense training programme and the forces of gravity. However, Yarnold has more to do.

"No-one has defended an Olympic gold in the skeleton," she said. "I'm only 25, I'm very driven and I'm still hungry for it."

Elsewhere yesterday, Britain's men couldn't repeat Yarnold's effort as Kristan Bromley placed eighth and Dominic Parsons 10th at the Sanki Sliding Centre.

And Chemmy Alcott was left bringing the curtain down on her Olympic alpine skiing career amid the perceived disappointment of finishing 23rd in the Super-G after a 19th in the downhill earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, Russian freestyle skier Maria Komissarova underwent emergency surgery after suffering a serious back injury in a practice session yesterday. The 23-year-old was training for the women's ski-cross event at the PSX Olympic ski-cross venue in Rosa Khutor Extreme Park when she suffered the injury.

o Samsung are a proud partner of Team GB and are supporting the Samsung Galaxy Team. To meet the team, see exclusive content and win amazing prizes, including once-in-a-lifetime winter sport training sessions with the Samsung Galaxy Team athletes, visit: www.samsung.com/uk/sochi2014

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