Varnish was the only British track cyclist to have ridden at the Games not to medal, with Andy Tennant and Wendy Houvenaghel both unused in the men's and women's team pursuits respectively.
The 21-year-old's nightmare moment came in the first round of the women's team sprint as along with Victoria Pendleton, the British pair failed to make a legal changeover and were disqualified.
While Pendleton had two more bites of the cherry - winning gold in the keirin and silver in the individual sprint - Varnish was confined to the stands determined to play a support role to the team.
She was putting on a very brave face and is still distraught at what took place on that Thursday afternoon in the London Velodrome however the beginning of a new chapter awaits.
Varnish is expected to be part of the British team for the first UCI Track Cycling World Cup of the new season in Colombia later this month and she's ready to turn over a new leaf.
"It felt like someone had died," Varnish told the Mail on Sunday. "I knew it was wrong to feel like that and I told myself to pull myself together.
"I know it wasn't anything important in the real world but at that time, in that stadium, the Olympics were everything to me. It was like life or death.
"I was angry with what happened to us then and I'm still furious now. If you weren't angry at being disqualified from the Olympic Games, I think you'd have a problem.
"But I understand that I'm only 21, there is so much in my life and I have so much fire in my belly to prove that I've got what it takes.
"But I know this will make me stronger. I don't think anything worse can happen in my cycling career unless I have a really bad crash."
- Victoria Pendleton
- Wendy Houvenaghel