Catching up with Charlotte Worthington

Just like the title suggests, we’re catching up with Charlotte Worthington after her historic Olympic win! Want to know what life has been like for Chaz? Keep reading below.

It’s been about 3 months (at the time of this interview) since the Olympics, what has been your day-to-day life been like since? Because it seems like after the Olympics you had nothing but back-to-back media obligations, scheduled appearances, and endorsement deals. Has life mellowed out a bit since?

It felt like I blinked and 3 months had gone by! After the Olympics, I was expecting to come home and go on holiday, like that day, but it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen. Before I even got on the plane home from Tokyo I was scheduled to do a morning TV appearance in the UK, and so many other amazing opportunities followed! I had to take advantage of as many as I could because BMX was appearing on mainstream TV and crossing paths with so many inspirational people. I also had some great advice from other athletes that it’s a small window in the UK, before you know it everyone will be talking about football (soccer) again haha. It wasn’t until early October I finally saw a free week and booked a holiday for myself to Sicily, where I definitely got some me time, I ate far too much pizza and wine! Life is definitely mellowing back to normal now, it’s been a wild roller coaster of a year and I’m so grateful.

The night before finals, I’m curious to know what was going through your head. Were you able to sleep and be well-rested or were the nerves at any point getting to you? I also want to know what was going through your head when the first attempt of the 360 flip didn’t go as planned and was there anything during training that kept you collected because you looked quite calm heading into your second run. 

I think once it came to that final night before finals, part of me had just accepted the fate. At that point, whatever happens, happens, we’d come so far. I slept pretty poorly the first week because the walls in the village are so thin, so I actually slept great that night as some of the athletes we were sharing with had finished and left! Going into the first run I was tense, I knew I was going to try it but I didn’t know the outcome, they have some strict TV rules at the games and I also wasn’t sure when I was allowed to drop in (You can see in the video I look back a couple of times looking for approval).

Maybe this threw me off the first attempt and I know I rushed it. Once I’d done the first one I felt relief! Even though I’d crashed I’d put it out there, the anticipated trick. Soon after I slipped into this tunnel vision between the runs and didn’t look up before I had to go back out there. Those doubting thoughts do slip into your head, but I’d had so much help from my team at practicing focussing on the positives and what I needed to do I was able to keep it together.

When I stepped up to do my second run I fist-bumped Jamie and said: “You know what let’s just go out there and enjoy it! BREATH!”. Again accepting that fate whatever it was going to be, it’s a high-risk trick. I stood on top of the spine, glanced at the scoreboard, and thought ‘Jeeze that’s a high score, ah well let’s see what happens…’, I heard the intro to Welcome To The Jungle by Guns & Roses, smiled, and dropped in.

cookie_nastazio How long did it take you to land the 3 flip? Do you have any dream tricks you’d like to land in the future?

It took a long time to get right just in the foam pit, but once I took it to resi for the first time at the start of the year I landed it in a couple of attempts, but I was terrified of it. I definitely spent a lot of time in the pit on that one. There’s a lot of dream tricks I want to do, but one of the success points of the 360 flip (AKA Ferrari as we called it) was that no one knew it was coming, so I’m afraid I’ll have to keep my cards close to my chest, sorry haha!

How are you doing mentally after the Olympics, are you doing good?

I’m good now thank you. There was a period of time, say 2 months, where my feet weren’t touching the ground. I had so many incredible invites and opportunities it was hard to keep track of, and it was really hard to do normal things like sort my bills at home because I was never home! It was something so new to me I guess it was a bit overwhelming, I wanted to be sure I was doing a good job of representing women, BMX, the UK etc., and I was mentally drained after the actual Olympics on top of that. There was a short while it was a lot. I couldn’t even look at my bike for a long time either, I didn’t have the mental energy. I’ve since had time to recover and it taught me there still needs to be a balance even if it’s not physical work I’m doing. Thanks for Asking!

Olympic Photos by Naoki Gaman // UCI Cycling

soycarlos0 What were your thoughts when you stood on the podium at Tokyo 2020?

How?! How did this all happen?? I stood here, gold medal around my neck, national anthem playing and tears in my eyes, exactly as I’d been dreaming about. It was and still is very surreal.

Was winning gold everything you had expected, was there any part of this journey so far that’s surprised you?

I guess the journey totally wasn’t what I expected, the whole of 2021 was a real turning point for my journey, I made a lot of changes. I started the year (In UK COVID lockdown) not in the best shape, mentally and on the bike. I was lucky enough to escape out to the USA and spend time with my coach Jamie and his amazing family. This really got my head straight and I found a better focus, this carried on throughout the year and got me through two shoulder injuries in the build-up to the games! In the end, the goal changed from winning gold to giving myself the best chance to do THAT run, even if I crash and lose. Winning the gold was as everyone had almost joked with me about haha, which was still surprising!

I’m sure you’ve rubbed elbows with other gold medalists since, what’s been a takeaway in a form of advice that resonated with you? 

I’ve been lucky to meet some incredible people as the UK has some huge names in sport, I feel I’ve picked up lots of little pieces of advice along the way as this is a whole new chapter that brings its own challenges. I think the main takeaway is that sport isn’t always the only thing in life, it’s all about finding that balance and being happy.

Has there been any update in regards to the Olympic replica park and where that will be going, last I checked it was stashed in a closet? 

Sadly Nope! We can’t wait to find out where it’s going to pop up as it’s such an amazing park, I’d love for everyone to get the opportunity to ride the Olympic course!

Charlotte hugging coach and BMX legend, Jamie Bestwick

scottycranmer  What’s a part of BMX that hasn’t changed for you from when you first started riding to where you are today?

There’s a couple of things Scotty; It’s always the best with your friends! I had some sessions post-Olympics with me best mates, no goals, no trick list, and it was the best thing in the world! It felt like a really long time I was able to ride like that. Also, the thrill of landing a new trick and new tricks never gets less scary! But that’s what makes BMX so great and those things will never change.

mtbmx.paige How does it feel to have made history, the first woman to win gold in freestyle BMX, that must be a never-ending high!

Very surreal. It is never-ending because it’s one of the proudest moments of my life and I always tear up rewatching the video. But when we’re out there we aren’t thinking “ I’m here to make history ” we’re just there to do our best on the day and to have such an incredible response from so many is very touching. Especially as an ex-scooter kid that just wanted to have fun on a bike, I’ve received a lot of respect such as recently being awarded the NORA Cup rider of the year, I can’t thank the BMX community enough for all of this!

What’s next? Do you still feel driven?

There’s still a lot I haven’t achieved, and looking ahead the contest calendar is filling up. I can’t stop here, I’ve got to go on. You’re only a success at the moment you’re successful!

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