Cyclist Laura Trott’s family have spoken about how they find it hard to believe she has become a double Olympic gold medalist after they feared she would not survive when she was born with a collapsed lung.
Trott, 20, yesterday joined other athletes including Dame Kelly Holmes and swimmer Rebecca Adlington in an elite club of British females to have won double gold at a single Games.
But Glenda Trott said she feared the worst when her daughter was delivered by Caesarean section in April 1992 and she was told Laura had a collapsed lung.
She spent six and a half weeks in hospital during which time she and husband Adrian were not allowed to touch the baby as she was fed through a tube.
But the plucky youngster, who also suffers from asthma, is set to be remembered as one of the stars of London 2012 after winning two gold medals, only the second member of Team GB to win two golds in this Games after fellow cyclist Jason Kenny.
Mrs Trott, 50, from Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, said: “To look at her today riding round the track is just amazing. She’s just got so much determination.
“I just can’t believe she’s there.”
Trott’s parents were told their daughter would need to take part in sport to help regulate her breathing and aged eight she began cycling when her mother took it up to lose weight.
Twelve years later, Trott won gold in the women’s team pursuit on Saturday and yesterday won an individual title, claiming gold in the women’s omnium.
Accountant Mr Trott, 52, who described himself as “exceptionally” proud, said he had not expected his daughter to be able to compete in these Games.
He said: “I don’t think it’s really sunk in. Just getting selected was a bonus. It was two years ago basically this month she was winning a junior world title, and we assumed that if she was going to do a Games, it would be Rio.”
He said it was “a little bit surreal” that she had come away with not one but two golds, adding that he was sure she would be able to cope with her newfound fame.
Teaching assistant Mrs Trott described her daughter as “very lively” and “bubbly”.
She added: “She’s worked hard. She loves what she does. It’s not going to change her or any of us because she’s got the medals.”
Such was their daughter’s dedication to training, she even missed her own school prom.
They said she plans to have a rest and a holiday, while they expect they will have a family celebration at some point.
Their elder daughter, Emma, 22, is also a keen road race cyclist. After yesterday’s race, she said: “She’s not just done our family proud, she’s done the nation proud.”
Trott herself said it was “mad” that she had won two gold medals.
After finishing yesterday, she said: “I can’t believe it. Not many 20-year-olds can say they have two gold medals.”
She added that all she had been thinking about beforehand was celebrating with her family.
Her closeness to them was clear when, moments after roaring over the finish line, she rode up the track to where they were sitting in the front row and hugged them with the 6,000-capacity Velodrome looking on.
Described by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford as “a bundle of energy with a contagious enthusiasm”, Trott spent her childhood on regular bike rides down the Lea Valley on a Saturday morning and visits to Welwyn track.
This eventually led to her progression through British Cycling programmes alongside her sister.
Now the former Turnford School pupil has added two gold medals to her current World and European Team Pursuit and omnium titles, alongside a glut of national titles dating back to her junior days.
But the double triumph is predicted to be just the beginning of her Olympic career, coming four years ahead of her initial target of competing at Rio in 2016.