Charlotte Worthington produces new move to win Olympic gold in BMX freestyle

Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington during the Women’s Cycling BMX Freestyle (Marijan Murat via DPA)
Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington during the Women’s Cycling BMX Freestyle (Marijan Murat via DPA)
PA Media

Former cook Charlotte Worthington served up a gold medal for Team GB in the BMX freestyle as British success in Tokyo continued on Sunday.

Worthington, from Manchester, landed the first-ever 360 backflip to be performed in women’s competition, having worked in a Mexican restaurant as she trained for this year’s Games.

The 25-year-old’s gold was followed by a bronze for Declan Brooks in the men’s freestyle, while a British quartet snared a silver in the last swimming event in the pool, the 4×100 men’s medley.

Worthington fell in her first run but landed a front flip and a huge backflip on her way to a first-place finish, with Britain’s most successful female Olympic track cyclist Laura Kenny saying: “I think that’s one of my favourite ever Olympic golds!”

Speaking afterwards, she said: “In 2018, I was working in a restaurant.

“At that time it was the Racconto Lounge in Bury, but I started working in restaurants in the Beagle in Manchester.

“In 2018, I went to a couple of events and contests and got speaking to people and found out about BMX being in the Olympics and British cycling were putting together a team.

“At the time, I was just taking a lot of really cool opportunities that I enjoyed doing and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Racconto Lounge manager Jordan Carter told the PA news agency: “I feel really proud of her.”

Charlotte Worthington with her gold medal (Mike Egerton/PA)

Worthington’s mother Sarah told Times Radio the win was “a bit like a dream really”.

She said: “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.”

Zoe Morris, headteacher of Chorlton High School, where Worthington was a pupil, tweeted the performance was “inspirational”, adding: “That was stunning!”

Worthington later told PA that there had been “a stigma around extreme sports for many years… that you’re a school dropout and you get up to things that you shouldn’t be”.

But she said she had proved that “we’re athletes as much as Usain Bolt is an athlete”.

“We train just as hard, we sacrifice just as much and we’ve seen the results and we’ve reaped the rewards today,” she said.

The Briton’s victory came after Bethany Shriever secured the Olympic title in the BMX racing, while Kye Whyte finished second in the men’s event.

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

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.”

Adrenaline Alley in Corby, where both Worthington and Brooks train, posted of their pride at the BMX performances on social media, saying: “This is unbelievable!! 2 medals are coming home! We are so proud @chazworther @declanbrooks.”

Meanwhile, in the pool, Duncan Scott won a record fourth medal at the Games with a silver in the medley relay alongside Luke Greenbank, James Guy, and Adam Peaty.

Peaty’s mother Caroline said she was “so proud” of the team, who were pipped to first by the United States.

James’ brother Andy Guy said: “Congratulations chaps a silver medal.. remember it took a world record to beat you, you should all be very proud !! Well done James very proud Guy family …”

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