Spence, originally from Inverness but now living and training in Bath, became world champion in thrilling style three months before the Olympics, overcoming a 37-second deficit in the final run/shoot to storm to gold.
She had previously won three minor World Cup medals, as well as European bronze followed by a silver at the World Junior Championships in 2006.
Spence contemplated retiring from the sport in 2009 when her motivation was dwindling.
She returned to her family home in the Scottish Highlands to deliberate over her future, but an early-morning run in temperatures of minus 12°C quickly made her realise she had the passion to continue in the sport.
She was inspired to take up the sport after watching fellow Britons Steph Cook and Kate Allenby win gold and bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Already a regular competitor in Pony Club tetrathlons (shooting, swimming, running and riding), she took up fencing at 16 and won her class at the British Youth Championships within four weeks. Fencing is now her favourite discipline.