A former Wimbledon Guardian paper girl has been welcomed home after rowing her way to an Olympic gold medal last week.
Sophie Hosking, 26, from Wimbledon, competed in the women’s double lightweight sculls with partner Kat Copeland taking gold, finishing the 2.2km course ahead of China and world champions Greece, on what has been dubbed Team GBs ‘Super Saturday’ after scoring six gold medals.
Hosking said: "It’s still a bit unreal but it has been a massive rush since we crossed the line.
"I keep having to remind myself what we have done.
"It will sink in over the next couple of weeks."
Hosking, a former Wimbledon AFC footballer, showed support for her home town rowing to victory with Wimbledon written across her nails in blue and yellow.
She said: "When I was 14 I delivered the Guardian on Thursday’s, and I played for Wimbledon ladies FC.
"Football is my first love but once I started with the rowing, it takes up a lot of time, so I had to leave the football behind.
"I’m still a massive fan, I go down as much as possible and they have given me a lot of support.”
She added: "I have lived in Wimbledon on and off all my life, seeing everyone get behind me was amazing - I’m a bit over awed by it all.
"I can’t wait to get back home to Wimbledon and I want to thank everyone for their support."
Hosking started rowing at the age of 14 at Kingston Grammar School and teamed up with current coach Paul Reedy in 2007 while at the London Rowing Club in Putney.
She said: "We have been working on this project for over four years now, I have been in the double since 2009 and the same coach, Paul Reedy, since 2007.
"This was always our aim.”
Hosking and Copeland had only recently swapped positions for their Olympic bid with Hosking taking the stroke seat.
But, Hosking said: "We swapped the line up but we still had all that experience to draw from and we were very focused on what we needed to do each session to put ourselves in the best position for the Olympics."
After winning gold Hosking underwent a transformation for a TV interview, so much so that her Dad didn’t recognise her with Hosking admitting that she doesn’t usually look like that.
Revelling in their Olympic victory, Hosking said: "We are soaking up the atmosphere in the village and support all the other athletes competing and get tickets to cheer on Team GB.
"When it is all over I will head back home and spend time with my family.
"It has been a lot of hard work so it will be nice to have time to chill out."
On what the future holds for the Olympic gold medallist Hosking said: "Right now I’m trying to enjoy all the opportunities.
"I’m trying to stay in the moment, when I have a bit of perspective, when the emotions have calmed down I can start making decisions on my future.”