Gold for Charlotte Worthington and bronze for Declan Brooks in BMX freestyle

Charlotte Worthington took gold (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)
5:12am, Sun 01 Aug 2021
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Charlotte Worthington won gold for Great Britain in the first Olympic women’s BMX freestyle competition in Tokyo before Declan Brooks followed up with bronze in the men’s event moments later.

The double success meant Britain have taken a medal in all four BMX events at these Games after the racing gold and silver for Beth Shriever and Kye Whyte.

Worthington made history in more ways than one as the 25-year-old Mancunian nailed the first 360 backflip to be performed in women’s competition in a huge second run – having crashed attempting the move in her first.

Charlotte Worthington reacts to her run (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

It was just one of several highlights in a second effort that earned the former chef a monster score of 97.50 to edge out three-time world champion Hannah Roberts of the United States.

Having made the 360 stick early in her run, a confident-looking Worthington also threw in a front flip and a huge backflip on her way to gold.

“It’s kind of unreal, I’m waiting to wake up,” Worthington said. “I’ve been dreaming about this for four years, and it still feels like I’m dreaming four years ago, I’m still waiting to wake up.

“I didn’t put any pressure on myself. You go in and out of it, you’re thinking there is some pressure and maybe it’s not going to happen this time.

“But you’ve just got to let that go really quick and refocus. I tried not to have any pressure and I tried to focus on enjoying myself and taking it one trick at a time.”

Worthington, who only started competing in 2016, had shown her ambition in the first run as she attempted the 360 backflip, but missed the landing to hit the deck, leaving her well down the standings after the opening round.

But she showed no fear as she went for the same routine the second time around.

“It was incredible,” she said. “I’ve not been doing that trick for that long, we’ve been trying to find that big banger trick and when we found it we thought, ‘this is the one’.

“We put a lot of faith in that. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had any of those tricks if it wasn’t for Hannah (Roberts). She’s made me push so hard since day one, this is the first time I’ve beaten her.

“If it wasn’t for Hannah Roberts, we wouldn’t be this far anyway.”

Roberts had topped the standings at the midway point after an outstanding opening run worth 96.10.

Going last in the order, the 19-year-old had a chance to top Worthington but slipped a pedal early in her run and pulled up to allow Worthington’s celebrations to begin.

Declan Brooks took bronze (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

The Briton then moved to the stands at the Ariake Urban Sports Park to cheer on Brooks in the men’s event.

The 25-year-old pulled off two big front flips in his second run to improve on an initial score of 89.40, with his 90.80 putting him in provisional second.

He would be dislodged by the veteran Daniel Dhers as the Venezuelan, 36, posted a 92.05, with neither man able to match Logan Martin.

The Australian highlighted his first run with a no-handed front flip, scoring 93.30, and he began his second knowing gold was already in the bag, sitting up to celebrate early after slipping a pedal.

Brooks said: “I’ve just cried for the past couple of minutes. It’s an unbelievable journey I’ve had on the way here, I’m just so stoked to win a medal.

“I don’t think it’s going to sink in today. For Charlotte to do her thing today, a score out there and tricks we’ve never seen before, it was harder for me to focus in.

“I knew the run I wanted to pull, I still missed a few bits out today. I’d have liked to have done more but third place for me was mental.”

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