If any confirmation were necessary that an Olympic medal changes your life then just ask Sally Conway. The 29 year-old won judo bronze in Rio and is currently inhabiting what she describes as "a different world". If an athlete's life consists primarily of eating, sleeping and training then the last few weeks could not have been more different for the Scot. And she's not done yet; tonight she will attend the world premier of the new Bridget Jones film and tomorrow, she will go to the GQ Men of the Year Awards, an event that has been described in some quarters as 'the party of the year’. Just after we speak, Conway is going shopping in preparation for her upcoming red carpet appearances. It is, most would surely agree, a hard-earned indulgence. “I need to get some new clothes because I was thinking, I can’t go to the GQ Awards without buying a new dress!,” she laughs. “It’s so weird being invited to these events- it feels like it’s another world, to be honest. But it’s so much fun because I never normally get to go to these kind of things.”

There are few who would suggest that Conway does not deserve to live the life of luxury for a while. The Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist has been a stalwart of the British team for almost a decade but prior to Rio, had always finished outside of the medals in World, Olympic and European Championships. Her maiden Olympic appearance four years ago was a particular low- a second round defeat at London 2012 was a bitter disappointment but the Scot vowed to learn from that experience and use it to her advantage. “At London, I just got too nervous and I didn’t even enjoy it,” she says. “So after that, I made a promise to myself that I was going to enjoy every single second of Rio, soak it all up and have confidence that all the training I’d done over the years had been enough. I was in a really good place going into these Olympics.”

Conway also started working with a sport psychologist in recent years in an attempt to get the most out of herself. PHYSICALLY, she is as capable as anyone in the world but by her own admission she has, at times, let her mind affect how she performs in competition. In Rio, though, everything came together perfectly. “The work I’ve done with my sport psychologist has helped me massively,” she says. “Once you get to Olympic level, everyone is good and everyone, on their day, can come away with a medal. So it’s all in your head and it’s about having that confidence and belief that you can do it. When I was out on the mat in Rio, it was like I wasn’t thinking, I was just doing it. All that training fell into place on the right day. And I really enjoyed hearing the crowd - it felt like the Brazilian crowd was cheering for me which was great. I believe that everything happens for a reason and so I think if I hadn’t had all of those experiences of being disappointed, annoyed and being frustrated with myself, I probably wouldn’t be here today with an Olympic medal.”

Conway went into Rio ranked 10th in the world in the -70kg category but her draw was tough; every one of her opponents had a winning record against her, some she had never beaten before. Despite the odds being stacked against her, Conway timed the performance of her life to perfection and victory followed victory, followed victory, including a win over world number three and reigning world champion, Gevrise Emane, from France in the last 16. A semi-finals defeat left the Scot fighting for bronze against Austria’s Bernedette Graf but the Ratho-based fighter dominated to become Scotland’s first-ever Olympic medallist in judo. The beaming smile that appeared on her face as soon as her bout ended has been there ever since. “I still don’t think that it’s sunk in properly yet because I haven’t had a normal day since I got home from Rio,” she says. “What’s so nice is being able to share my medal with my family and friends because they’ve been through every one of the ups and downs with me and they’ve always stuck by me. It feels like it’s not just my medal, it’s theirs as well.”

Conway is unlikely to compete again until the new year but already, she has an eye on the next Olympics. She will be 33 in four years time and so Tokyo will, most likely, be her final Olympic Games. She admits that there would be no better place to finish her Olympic career, though. “Judo is originally from Japan so I’d love to go to Tokyo in 2020,” she says. “I just want to take it year by year though, because there’s still a lot of other things that I want to achieve like medal at the European and World Championships. Now, I truly believe that I am good enough to win those medals. But if I never win another fight in my life, I’ve got an Olympic medal and nobody can ever take that away from me. I’ve achieved my dream.”