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From 40-hour weeks in a restaurant to Olympic glory: Who is Charlotte Worthington?

Written by on 01/08/2021

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?

Charlotte Worthington during her BMX freestyle gold medal-winning run
Image: Worthington during her BMX freestyle gold medal-winning run

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.

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Flipping amazing! Another BMX gold for Team GB

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.

More on Tokyo Olympics

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.”

Charlotte Worthington celebrates her gold medal performance
Image: Worthington celebrates her gold medal performance

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!”

Great Britain's Charlotte Worthington on her way to winning a gold medal in the women's BMX freestyle at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on the ninth day of the Tokyo
Image: Worthington’s mother said the achievement was ‘like a dream’

On her daughter’s achievement Sarah Worthington told 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.

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BMX freestyler explains ‘gold medal trick’

“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.”

Beth Shriever won gold in the women's BMX racing, while Kye White secured silver
Image: Beth Shriever won gold in the women’s BMX racing, while Kye White secured silver

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.”

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Beth Shriever: ‘I’m still so overwhelmed’

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.

 Sky News

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