BMX champion Charlotte Worthington, 25, used to work as a chef in a Mexican restaurant before becoming the first woman to pull-off a 360-degree backflip in a freestyle event
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Olympic sensation Charlotte Worthington has gone from flipping tacos to flipping her BMX – to become Britain’s latest golden girl.
The 25-year-old – who used to be a chef in a Mexican restaurant – became the first woman to pull off a 360-degree backflip in the freestyle event, then admitted afterwards: “It was gold or nothing – it was ‘Go big or go home’.”
The Manchester-born rider won gold on her Olympic debut while her friend Declan Brooks took bronze in the men’s event, after Bethany Shriever’s won gold in the BMX racing event.
Charlotte had needed to do something special after crashing on her first run – and the backflip gave her a score of 97.50 out of a possible 100 to edge out US favourite Hannah Roberts.
Charlotte called it a “risk” and “huge adrenaline rush”, but said: “There was no way I was not going to try it.
“I’ve not been doing the 360 backflip for that long, we’ve been trying to find that big banger trick and when we found it we thought, ‘This is the one’.
“I wouldn’t have any of those tricks if it wasn’t for [coach] Hannah Roberts. She’s made me push since day one.
“If you gamble and give yourself that chance, you feel better than if you hold back and then you don’t win.”
Charlotte only started competing in 2016 and secured her first World Cup podium within two years, honing her skills at Adrenaline Alley skate park in Corby, Northants.
She admitted: “I’ve been dreaming about this for four years. It still feels like I’m dreaming. Huge thanks to everyone back home.”
Charlotte worked as a chef until 2018 to fund her love of “extreme sport”, before being spotted by talent scouts.
Mum Sarah, a supply teacher, and dad John, a gardener, supported her back home with the house decked in Union flags by her brother Dominic.
Smiling Charlotte thanked them for their support adding: “When I worked in the restaurant, BMX wasn’t in the Olympics. This was just my passion… anything with wheels I’m up for.”
British Olympic track cycling legend Laura Kenny called it: “One of my favourite ever Olympic golds!’
Bronze winner Declan, of Portsmouth, was inspired by his dad Lee, a plasterer who loved BMX in the 80s.
He recalled: “I loved it. I went down to Southsea skatepark and that made me the rider I am today.
Charlotte Worthington Instagram)
“I crashed on the double backflip a month ago. Ten days off. Then we got straight back into it.”
Both riders hope Team GB’s Olympic success will help to raise the sport’s profile.
Charlotte added: “It will inspire a new generation. It is a visual sport, a spectator sport and you don’t have to know a lot about it to enjoy it.”
Declan, 25, added: “When I started 15 years ago I never thought it would be in the Olympics.”
New Olympic disciplines like BMX and skateboarding offer exciting opportunities for youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.
BMX racing silver medallist Kye Whyte, 21, said the sport helped keep him and his brother stay “on the straight and narrow” on a tough estate in Peckham, South London.
Britain’s boxers also shone yesterday. Ben Whittaker, 24, guaranteed himself at least silver by beating Russian Imam Khataev to reach the 81kg final.
Pat McCormack, 26, will fight for gold in the men’s welterweight division and Frazer Clarke, 29, reached the super-heavyweight final.