Lizzy Yarnold savours 'unexplainable' Sochi 2014 gold
Lizzy Yarnold said she was in disbelief after winning Great Britain's first gold of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 25-year-old dominated the women's skeleton to emulate Amy Williams at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
"It is unexplainable. I am sure it won't sink in for another few days," said Yarnold.
"I have worked so hard to get into this position and I am just so proud that my dreams have come true. I always have high expectations of myself."
Who is Lizzy Yarnold?
1988: Born 31 October in Sevenoaks, Kent
2008: Joins the Great Britain skeleton programme after attending a Girls4Gold talent search programme
2010: Starts competing for the Great Britain squad, winning two races on the third-tier Europa Cup circuit
January 2012: Wins gold in only her second World Cup race in St Moritz - and one week later is crowned world junior champion in Innsbruck
February 2012: Wins the bronze medal at the World Championships in Lake Placid
2014: Is crowned overall World Cup champion after dominating the 2013-14 season, winning four of the eight races and finishing on the podium three times
February 2014: Wins Winter Olympic gold in Sochi, setting a new track record along the way
Yarnold, whose medal will be presented live on BBC television at 16:30 GMT on Saturday, only took up skeleton in 2008 after being recruited via UK Sport-backed talented identification programme 'Girls4Gold'.
Cheered on by the "Yarny Army" - a group including her parents Clive and Judith, sisters Katie and Charlotte and boyfriend James Roche - Yarnold broke the track record with her third run of 57.91 seconds to extend her lead from 0.44 to a massive 0.78 seconds.
And despite a scrappier final run, she still posted the quickest time of the entire field with 58.09 to beat Noelle Pikus-Pace of the United States by almost a second.
"On the fourth run I knew I had a substantial lead and tried to relax, but I knew my coach would be nervous as I made a mistake right near the top but I just had to try and stay calm and get through the rest of the run," she said.
"I treat all the races as the same and the relaxation comes with enjoying the sport and that was important today.
"I always secretly intended to come to Sochi. That was always my dream and my goal but to win the whole race is far beyond my expectations."
Yarnold, who grew up in Kent, competed in heptathlon events as a child and was inspired by watching Denise Lewis win Olympic heptathlon gold at the Sydney 2000 Games.
Her mother Judith told BBC Sport: "I am lost for words. I am so proud of her, ever since she was 11 she has been professional and focused in her training.
"We are hoping we get some time to spend with her before the ceremony on Saturday. We are all back at work on Monday, it has been a quick visit which has been well worth it."
Yarnold's gold follows Jenny Jones's bronze in the women's slopestyle and takes Great Britain's medal tally to two, making it the nation's most successful Winter Games since Salt Lake City in 2002.
"This is a fantastic moment for Lizzy and I know every member of our delegation is thrilled for her," said Team GB chef de mission Mike Hay.
"What we have seen during the past two days of competition is an athlete at the very top of her sport.
"Through hard work, determination, unwavering self-belief and an outstanding support system, Lizzy has earned a title very few athletes can claim: she is the Olympic champion."
UK Sports Minister Helen Grant also paid tribute to Yarnold's achievement.
"Huge congratulations to Lizzy Yarnold on her incredible win," said Grant.
"The likes of Lizzy and Jenny are such positive role models for young women and I am sure they will have inspired many to go and give winter sports a try."