Olympic gold medallist and TV presenter Amy Williams fell in love with soldier Craig Ham after meeting on a dating site and the couple married last year. Army&You caught up with the skeleton champion to find out how she’s finding life as a military wife…
Army&You: Tell us more about how you met.
Amy Williams: I literally went on Tinder for one day; Craig had only been on it for two days. You get matched with someone in your location and we only matched because I was on a train to Bath and he was in Odiham, so it was quite funny. We got chatting and he took me on a date the next day, so we deleted Tinder and that was it!
Why do you think you were such a good match?
There’s quite an understanding between a military person and an athlete. You are away a lot, the lifestyle is similar – the pride and self-discipline. You know what you’re trying to achieve – we’re that same kind of mentality.
Has your background helped you cope when you and Craig are apart?
Although I’d retired as an athlete when we got together I was used to being away, I’d spent six months of my life away competing. After two months of being together he was straight off to Afghanistan. I think a lot of people would hate that, but I’ve done it my whole life so you just crack on and try not to think about it too much.
Is it more difficult being the one who’s left behind?
When you’re away you’re always wondering what’s happening back home. I wrote letters to him all the time; a few sentences each day. I’d already sent a letter so when Craig got out to Afghanistan it was waiting for him – my mum used to do that for me when I was competing. She would send it to whichever hotel I was staying at and it made me feel instantly “at home”.
The hard thing about being back home is when you’re promised a phone call and it doesn’t happen – you think the worst.
How much does living in your own home help to keep things “normal”?
Just before we got married Craig moved to Yeovilton so we live in Bath within an hour’s drive. If he’s posted we’d live in a quarter but luckily at the moment we can live in the family home. I feel like I have done my athletics career and I want to support him. I’ll go wherever he needs to go.
How does your new career as a TV presenter and commentator fit in with Army life?
My job and my life is everywhere. I could be away a few times a week, in a hotel here and there, it really depends what it is. If it’s commentating for the BBC I could be away for a month.
It never works out that we’re away at the same time. We’re always out of sync! We moved house recently and I had to do all the packing and moving because he was in Kenya. He got back and we had one hour together, so I gave him the keys, a list of jobs to do and said “see ya”.
I’ve missed a lot of the mess events because I’ve been working. It was really nice meeting the military girlfriends and wives at our wedding. They said “if you want to talk, we’re here” and that was really sweet.
If you’ve never been exposed to your partner being away I think that’s a great support network.
Now you’ve retired from skeleton, how do you get your thrills?
The Gadget Show gets me doing some quite wacky stuff and sometimes I think “what am I doing, I could really hurt myself”. When skeleton was my job I didn’t really think about it, it just became part of my life. I do miss competing. My body was a machine, I trained three times a day and I was the strongest at my sport in the world. I miss physically pushing myself but I accept that my body is broken. All I do now is yoga and the odd shuffle run.
Does commentating help you stay in touch with the ice?
It’s a love-hate thing. You’re so close to your sport yet you’re so far away. You’ve still got to perform in your two minute slot when the camera is live but you’re not physically beating yourself every day – you can have a glass of wine at the end of it.
Has Craig had a go at a skeleton run?
Not yet! He didn’t know me when I was competing but I still think he needs to have a go!