September 17, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Who is BMX freestyle star Charlotte Worthington?

August 01, 2021

Charlotte Worthington, from Chorlton, Manchester, has become Team GB's latest breakout star after winning gold with an impressive backflip in the BMX freestyle event on Sunday.

The 25-year-old former cook has gone from working 40 hours a week in a Mexican restaurant to Olympic glory - earning her praise as an exemplary role model for young people and an ambassador for the sport.

But who is Worthington and what has she achieved?

Who is Charlotte Worthington?

After leaving college, the BMX star began working at a Mexican restaurant near her home to help support her biking career.

She later found out about plans for a BMX team in 2018 when she was working full-time as a chef at Racconto Lounge in Bury.

But she faced lots of hard work to fund and balance her training after UK Sport withdrew funding for women's BMX and men's mountain biking, before it was reinstated.

Her mother Sarah told Times Radio: "She just really did BMX freestyle as a hobby, which she loved. She tried to cut her shifts down [at the restaurant] so she could get more time in the skate park but she still managed to keep going off to competitions all over the place. She'd use her holiday time at work to go and do stuff.

"The big turning point was this funding from British Cycling. She had a proper way (to do it) which meant she could give up the shift work and then she rapidly improved and ended up winning the World Championship in China. That qualified her for the Olympics."

How did Worthington secure gold?

A 360 backflip helped Charlotte Worthington secure Team GB another gold medal in the BMX freestyle event in Tokyo on Sunday.

Worthington fell in her first run but landed a front flip and the women's event's first-ever 360 to win the title, with Britain's most successful female Olympic track cyclist Laura Kenny saying: "I think that's one of my favourite ever Olympic golds!"

On her daughter's achievement Sarah Worthington told Sky News: "She said to me this morning she knew she could do that trick because she had spent the last couple of months in Telford doing and doing and doing that trick over and over again until she got it right."

She added to Times Radio: "It's just a bit like a dream, really.

"I mean, I could sort of tell that yesterday all the riders were keeping their cards close to their chest.

"I knew that she'd got all these things in her but it didn't really show in yesterday's run and she looked very serious and everything.

"Then when she did her first run today and she had the fall doing that new trick of that 360 thing I wasn't sure whether she'd even get a medal really, because I thought how do you come back from having a fall like that and it looked like it might have hurt.

"So I was just absolutely amazed.

"But I could sort of tell when she started off on that second run, she was smiling and everything and somehow she's just managed to get back and just show everybody what she can do."

Speaking on Sunday morning, her former manager, Jordan Carter, 28, told the PA news agency: "I feel really proud of her, it's made me really happy."

He said: "She was fantastic. We knew she was into BMX and she was going to enter the Olympics.

"She didn't speak about it a lot, she was quite reserved in some aspects and it was just one of those interesting facts about her."

Stephen Park, British Cycling's performance director, said people should remember her 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."

Where does Worthington train and who with?

Charlotte Worthington trains at Adrenaline Alley in Corby, near Kettering.

She trains alongside Kieran Reilly and Ashley Finlay, as well as Bronze medallist Declan Brooks.

Those still in Northamptonshire were cheering on their friend as she competed and eventually won.

Reilly is aiming to compete at the next Olympics, Paris 2024.

"I ride with Charlotte and Dec almost every day, so it's just brilliant to see them winning medals," he told Frazer Maude, Sky News correspondent.

"For Charlotte to be brave enough to try to pull off that backflip 360 in her second run after she failed to land it in her first was incredible. She really deserves that medal.

"And for Dec to be competing at all after a bad crash in the World Championships last month, never mind winning a medal, is just fantastic.

"I can't wait to see their medals when they get back!"

Speaking of Worthington and Brooks, Finlay said: "It's been incredible,"

"They put in so much hard work here and in the gym, they really deserve their success.

"Maybe now there will be some more funding available for the sport. With more cash available there's no reason why Team GB shouldn't have loads more success in BMX.

"And now that it's on a bigger stage more people can see how amazing and committed these athletes are."

What is BMX and how well has Team GB done in the sport?

BMX is relatively new to the Olympics, having made its debut in Beijing 13 years ago but this is the first time the freestyle event has featured.

Worthington's win puts her in the history books as one of the first people to medal in the event.

The sport has won many fans this Games, particularly in the UK thanks to Great Britain's success with the team finishing on the podium in all four BMX competitions.

Worthington's gold was followed by a bronze for Declan Brooks in the men's freestyle - cementing Team GB's domination of the sport following on from Bethany Shriever's Olympic title in the BMX racing, and Kye Whyte's silver in the men's event.

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