Laura Trott takes giant leap towards London 2012
Laura Trott barely fits the business-class seat on the flight home from Melbourne that she is afforded as a world-beating track cyclist.
At a smidge over 5ft in height and 8st in weight, it is hard to know where the 19-year-old keeps the power with which she won two world titles in the last five days. Small wonder a young Laura's favourite film was Big.
"This has been better than I could have hoped for," she said a day earlier, walking along Melbourne's St Kilda beach.
"London feels pretty real now. I wouldn't say I didn't believe I'd get to 2012, but to be 18 years old last year and win my first world title, it was really then that I began to feel 2012 wasn't totally out of the picture.
"To finish this competition winning two Olympic events, I don't think anyone can say I'm completely out of the running for it."
On the contrary, most people would now install her as favourite in both races: the team pursuit and the omnium. In Melbourne, Trott twice broke the world record alongside team-mates Dani King and Joanna Rowsell to secure the former, then won the latter - a six-discipline track cycling equivalent of the decathlon - in a manner that had GB cyclist turned BBC commentator Rob Hayles in awe.
"She's so clever in the way she races, and I don't know if she knows she's doing it. It's almost like it's too natural for that," said Hayles after the omnium win. En route, Trott had won the omnium's elimination race, fast becoming her signature event following a gripping performance at the London World Cup two months ago.
"The elimination is where she really shows it," said Hayles. "She doesn't turn her head. It's as if she's not looking for other riders - she's just aware they're there. I was pulling the leg of the coaches, asking which one was in the stands with a remote control steering her."
Trott is becoming the ultimate all-rounder with tactical nous, speed and strength. But two years ago she wasn't even in the team.
"I watched Beijing 2008 and recognised people like Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, but I hadn't met any of them until I got into the academy and was pushed onto the senior programme last year," she said.
'Pound-for-pound, the best'
Will Laura Trott become a superstar at the London Games? No - because she already is one.
She's from London, her family live within sight of the Olympic Park, and she's one of the most engaging and infectious athletes I've ever met. She is, pound-for-pound, the most valuable rider on the whole British programme.
She was so consistent on her way to world gold in the omnium, against experienced world-class riders like Canada's Tara Whitten and American Sarah Hammer. Those older riders are afraid of a 19-year-old, and that is something.
"And then I'd seen all these people on telly and I'm in the same team as them. That felt weird with people I grew up idolising like Victoria Pendleton. I grew up watching her at grass tracks.
"I was really nervous stepping into the track centre for the first time - I'm an 18-year-old and here are all these big names. I never thought I could just sit there with Chris Hoy and have a conversation with him. But you can!" This is punctuated by the wide-eyed giggling that characterises her off the bike. "They're normal people."
Arguably they are not, but neither is Trott. As remarkable as her ability on the track is the way she copes with a condition that causes her to throw up after most races, often with cameras lurking uncomfortably nearby. Nobody enjoys vomiting on national television, but Trott is almost cheerfully resigned to it.
"I get too much acid in my stomach, and when I've tried hard in a race I tense up, which pushes the acid up and it gets stuck, so I throw up," she explained. "It's quite annoying.
"I take tablets to calm it down but there's only so much they can do. I'm just used to it; I almost feel better afterwards now."
This is not the only peculiarity Trott has uncovered when it comes to her body and sport. As a child she proved an adept trampolinist, reaching the level below the British national side by the age of 12, only to find her body could not cope: "I kept passing out randomly in mid-air, so obviously it was too dangerous to carry on."
Trott ascribed some of this to the collapsed lung she suffered at birth, another detail casually thrown into the conversation.
"It must have all started when I was born with that. I had to be in special care for six weeks and I've got asthma from it, but I could have had asthma anyway."
Back home, boyfriend Sam Harrison has been watching the World Championships on TV, and that is a source of frustration because Harrison is also in the GB senior team. Of the seven members of Britain's men's endurance cycling squad, six travelled to Melbourne, and all six won world titles. The closest that man number seven, 19-year-old Harrison, got was the occasional Skype session with his other half.
"It's hard for me leaving Sam behind, especially because he's so supportive and it's nice to have somebody outside of your loop - outside of the women's squad - to go back and talk to," said Trott.
"And it's been hard with the time zone out here, getting time to speak to him. But he's coming back to form now. Hopefully he'll be there with me at the Olympics."
The selection battle is on for Harrison but Trott knows she will be on that team. Events at the World Championships have shown that nobody has a better shot at two Olympic track cycling titles than her.
Even Hoy, who famously won three golds at Beijing 2008, would be delighted with two in London. Rule changes mean he is no longer certain to be selected in one of his events, and both France and Germany look better equipped in the sprint races.
Trott, however, outperformed all comers in Melbourne. By August, Britain's smallest cyclist could be the biggest name in her sport.
"She's so young yet she already has the skills to do the job," said Hayles, before adding with a shake of the head: "God help the rest of them."