October 25, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Britain's Charlotte Worthington wins gold in freestyle BMX - as swimmer Duncan Scott makes history for Team GB

August 01, 2021

Britain's Charlotte Worthington has won a sensational gold in the women's BMX freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics - as swimmer Duncan Scott made history for Team GB on a record-breaking day in the pool.

Worthington's victory is Great Britain's ninth gold medal of the Games, while Scott became the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Olympics.

Team GB are now celebrating their best ever Olympic medal haul in the swimming with four golds, three silvers and a bronze.

Worthington, from Manchester, landed the first ever 360 backflip to be performed in women's BMX competition in a huge second run - having crashed attempting the move in her first.

It was just one of several highlights in a second effort that earned her a score of 97.5 to edge out three-time world champion Hannah Roberts of the United States.

After UK Sport withdrew funding for women's BMX and men's mountain biking, Worthington worked 40 hours a week as a chef in a Mexican restaurant as she trained for this year's Games.

On her triumph, Worthington told the BBC: "It's kind of unreal. I'm waiting to wake up now! I've been dreaming about this for four years and it still feels like I'm dreaming.

"I didn't put any pressure on myself (after the fall in the first run). You kind of go in and out of it, sometimes you're thinking maybe there is some pressure and maybe it's not going to happen this time, but you've got to let those things go really quick and refocus.

"So I tried to focus on enjoying myself and taking it one trick at a time."

Stephen Park, British Cycling's performance director, said people should remember Worthington's name.

He tweeted: "The route hasn't been smooth but to nail @Tokyo2020 this after the 1st run fail is huge testimony to her belief & resilience. @chazworther A Top @TeamGB @BritishCycling athlete. Remember her name."

Later at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, Britain's Declan Brooks took bronze in the men's BMX freestyle, while Logan Martin of Australia won gold and Daniel Dhers from Venezuela took silver.

Brooks' bronze means Team GB finished on the podium in all four BMX competitions in Tokyo.

BMX racing made its debut at the Beijing Games 13 years ago.

The sport has enjoyed a high profile this year thanks to the success of Bethany Shriever, who won gold in women's BMX racing, and "Prince of Peckham" Kye Whyte, who took silver in the men's BMX racing.

In the swimming, Scott, Adam Peaty, Luke Greenbank and James Guy won the silver medal in the men's 4x100 metres medley relay in the final swimming event in Tokyo.

They finished 0.73 seconds behind the United States, who claimed gold in a world record time of three minutes and 26.78 seconds.

Britain's eighth swimming medal bettered their previous best tally in the pool of seven gongs, set at the London Games 113 years ago.

Scott had already won gold in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay, silver in the solo event and finished runner-up in the 200m individual medley.

In the boxing, British super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke claimed a controversial victory that ensured Britain will at least equal a post-war record of five Olympic boxing medals in Tokyo.

The Burton fighter narrowly lost the first round to Mourad Aliev but was battling back in the second when the referee stopped the action to disqualify the Frenchman for a headbutt.

Furious Aliev kicked his gum-shield into the empty stands at the Kokugikan Arena and remonstrated with Clarke before engaging in a sit-down protest on the ring-steps.

Clarke, who sustained a cut around his left eye, said: "I felt there was a couple of heads going in but whether it's intentional or not I don't know.

"I'm not going to stand here and say he did it on purpose because I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted his Olympics to end in the way they have."

Aliev finally moved after around half an hour, with officials having been quite happy for him to remain there since it was the last session. However, after spending 10 minutes out of the arena, he returned to resume his place.

Clarke's advance to the semi-final - which secures him at least a bronze - means Great Britain have guaranteed five boxing medals at these Olympics, matching the totals from the 1956 and 2012 Games.

Earlier, Ben Whittaker edged into the men's light-heavyweight final with a split decision verdict over Imam Khataev of the Russian Olympic Committee.

The 24-year-old from Wolverhampton becomes the second British boxer to book his place in the final after Pat McCormack was given a walkover in his welterweight semi-final over Ireland's Aidan Walsh, who was forced to withdraw with an ankle injury.

Lauren Price is already guaranteed at least a bronze medal in the women's middleweight division, while Karriss Artingstall will take home bronze in the women's featherweight category.

Elsewhere, Simone Biles has withdrawn from Monday's women's floor final.

It follows the 24-year-old gymnast's decision to pull out of the all-around final and the individual finals in vault and uneven bars.

In a brief statement, USA Gymnastics said: "Simone has withdrawn from the event final for floor and will make a decision on beam later this week. Either way, we're all behind you, Simone."

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