Who is Charlotte Worthington? Team GB BMX freestyle rider who won historic gold medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The BMX rider from Manchester was able to pull off an amazing 360 backflip in the freestyle event to bag Team GB another gold medal

Team GB BMX rider Charlotte Worthington has made history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, going from former chef in a Mexican restaurant to a gold medal Olympic athlete.

This is what you need to know about the 25 year old rider, and the insane trick that bagged her the highest score across the men’s and women’s BMX freestyle events.

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Who is Charlotte Worthington?

Charlotte Worthington of Team Great Britain practices a trick prior to the Women's Park Final of the BMX Freestyle on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Worthington is a member of Team GB, competing in the Cycling BMX category.

She was born in Manchester, on 26 June 1996, and when she left college she worked as a chef.

It wasn’t until she was 19 that Worthington got involved in BMX, and after swapping scooters for bikes, she was accepted onto the Great Britain Cycling Team programme for the emerging discipline.

In 2019, Worthington would go on to win the inaugural British and European Championships before becoming the first ever British woman to win a world medal in the field with a bronze at the World Championships in Chengdu.

Gold Medalist Charlotte Worthington of Team Great Britain bites her gold medal after the Women's Park Final of the BMX Freestyle on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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What move did she pull off in the women’s BMX freestyle competition?

On Sunday (1 August), Worthington was able to pull off the first ever 360 backflip to be performed in the women’s BMX freestyle competition.

The 25 year old fell in her first run, but was able to land a front flip and a massive backflip on her way to a first place finish.

Her routine earned a mark of 97.50 - the highest score from across the men’s and women’s events.

Worthington had previously hinted that she was working on something big at Adrenaline Alley, the BMX complex in Corby where the team trains, but very few knew it was the groundbreaking 360 until it was performed on Sunday’s final.

Worthington said: “I was definitely a gamble and it’s amazing when gambles pay off. I’ve probably been working on it a few months. I keep my cards close to my chest because it definitely pays off in these situations.”

The BMX rider had never attempted the trick on a wooden surface before this week, and her first attempt in competition ended in a heavy crash in the first run.

However, she had no hesitation getting up and trying it again.

Worthington said: “I think it’s been gold medal or nothing this whole journey. I think as soon as we set a goal of gold medal, it was go big or go home.

“I’ve learned that if you gamble and you give yourself that chance, it’s going to pay off better and going to feel better than if you hold off and think what could have been.”

Afterwards, Worthington Tweeted: “OLYMPIC CHAMPION!!! IT WAS ALL OR NOTHING! 4 YEARS WORK PAYING OFF! WORDS CAN’T EXPLAIN HOW THIS FEELS AFTER ALL THE BUMPS IN THE ROAD, THANK YOU BMX!!!”

What was the reaction like?

Laura Kenny, Britain’s most successful Olympic track cyclist, said: “I think that’s one of my favourite ever Olympic golds!”

Worthington’s former manager, Joran Carter, told the PA news agency: “I feel really proud of her.”

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.”

Sarah, Worthington’s mother, told Times Radio that the tin was “a bit like a dream really”, while Zoe Morris, headteacher of Chorlton High School where Worthington attended, Tweeted that her performance was “inspirational”.

Stephen Park, British Cycling’s performance director, Tweeted: “The route hasn’t been smooth but to nail @Tokyo2020 this after the 1st run rail is huge testimony to her belief & resilience. @chasworther A Top @TeamGB @BritishCycling athlete. Remember her name.”

Adrenaline Alley also Tweeted: “This is unbelievable!! 2 medals are coming home! We are so proud @chazworther @declanbrooks.”