Charlotte Worthington, the talented 27-year-old English BMX Park rider, was one of the favourites at the 15th anniversary of Extreme Barcelona, making the podium in the final of the UCI C1 BMX Women’s circuit. The winner of the gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Japan is familiar with the Extreme Barcelona organisation as she has participated in more than one event of the Urban world series, even so, in an interview she did the week of the event, we were able to get to know Charlotte and her professional career a little better:
When asked about her expectations for the competition, Charlotte adopted a wise perspective:
“I try never to have expectations because in the end it’s not just up to you. It doesn’t matter how much you have prepared for a competition because you can’t control the outcome. My goal is to do the best I know how to do and enjoy myself to regain my confidence to compete”.
This same mentality carries her to the Paris Games, where Charlotte hopes to keep her focus on her performance without worrying too much about results:
“No doubt about it. The goal remains the same: to do what I do best. Without expectations, because that’s the only way to get good results, when you don’t take them for granted”.
Charlotte revealed that her entry into BMX was a decision motivated by the need for a change and a challenge. She started her career in the sport at the age of 19 after having been successful on a scooter.
“I needed a challenge, to feel like I was making progress. Motivate me again to learn something. Some new stimulus. I’d already won everything there was to win on a skateboard and I didn’t feel I was making any progress. In my group there were some colleagues who did BMX and I thought why not? In just one year with BMX I entered a TV contest and many doors opened for me. Shortly afterwards, the cycling team that was preparing for Tokyo 2020 contacted me and that’s when my competitive career began”.
Despite the seemingly natural transition, Charlotte acknowledged that she has lost practice on the skateboard, but is fully committed to BMX today. When asked about how Olympic recognition has impacted BMX, Charlotte highlighted the professionalisation of the sport:
“It has had a massive effect. Very positive. Now, riders are considered professional athletes. They train just as hard as other athletes. The popularity of the sport and the athletes has increased tremendously with the support of the cycling federations. In addition, younger people are now having much more opportunities, more competitions are organised and access to the sport has been widened. The Olympics has also helped a lot to create opportunities for women. It is giving a new life to a lot of people, the community is growing and the acceptance is growing. We are no longer seen as a bunch of kids with bikes in the park.
Charlotte also reflected on her role as a woman in a predominantly male sport:
“I used to be the only girl in the skatepark and in some competitions there were only two or three of us. Unfortunately, it’s still not much different, but it’s becoming more and more common to see girls doing BMX and especially younger girls. They are the future of the sport and they have more and more female role models to look up to and feel that it’s not just ‘boys’ stuff’. At a competitive level, since 2018 when I started I can assure you that the female presence has doubled, and that has only been possible thanks to professionalisation”.
Before taking up BMX, Charlotte had different plans:
“I wanted to be a photographer. In fact, I studied photography and communication at university. In the meantime, I worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant and then I got a job in the kitchen. I was great at it, but when the competitions started to go well, I decided to take a step back because that job left me no time to train and I was too tired to really dedicate my efforts to BMX”.
Despite her success, Charlotte acknowledged that the pace of her life has been exhausting since the Tokyo Games and that she has faced a number of injuries. Her current goal is to find a balance between the sport and enjoying more of her BMX experience, where she has a long way to go, something easy to sense after her display at the Extreme Barcelona final, which if you missed, you can watch again here: