Charlotte Worthington was accepted onto the Great Britain Cycling Team programme in Freestyle Park and 2019 saw her win the inaugural British and European titles before she became the first-ever British woman to win a world medal in the discipline, taking bronze at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships.
Worthington was chosen to be part of the UK’s 26-strong cycling squad for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she won gold at the Cycling BMX Freestyle park final.
On her second run, she became the first woman in history to land a 360-degree backflip in competition.
Firstly and foremost thank you for taking your valuable time to speak with us today.
- Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe for those that do know you, something you’ve never revealed before?
Thank you for having me, I’m Charlotte, 26 years old, BMX Freestyle Olympic Champion. Originally a full-time cook from Manchester,
I moved to Corby, Northamptonshire, to pursue my career riding BMX’s a few years ago. My first bike was a pink Barbie bike which I received for my 6th birthday.
- Do you think that could have been your first taste of getting into BMX’ing?
Growing up I loved anything with wheels, roller blades, my brother’s skateboards and of course bikes. Stunt Scooters was what sparked my interest in action sports and down the line BMX freestyle.
I did this from 12 – 19 years old, picking up a little support along the way and doing some travelling around the UK skateparks. I was always surrounded by BMX’ers and often had a go on my friend’s bikes.
It wasn’t until I got that full-time job at 19 that I came to a crossroads, I didn’t have much time for my scooter and it was stale, I’d fallen out of love, I needed a new challenge, and BMX made it all exciting again, I could look at skateparks in a new way and transfer my scooter tricks onto the bike, it opened a new world.
- What has life been like since winning gold at the Olympics?
Life has been incredible but to be honest – also chaotic! There have been so many amazing opportunities to do things and meet people, getting the word of BMX freestyle out there.
I’m extremely lucky to now be a part of so many new teams with my sponsors too such as Halfords. I also had a long time off the bike to get my shoulder injury fixed up.
I spent the first three months of this year with my coach Jamie Bestwick and his family in Pennsylvania, who always go above and beyond in everything they do, they helped me get back on track.
Although this year has taught me a lot of challenging lessons on the bike, it’s helping me grow in new areas of my life and I’m extremely excited about the future!
- Do you have any advice for those looking to get into BMX’ing?
Sure, some simple things;
- 1: Make friends! You’ll help each other along the way, end up travelling and getting amazing experiences together. BMX is a lifestyle sport with a strong community, it’s more fun together.
- 2: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or get chatting with people.
- 3: Experience it all & have fun doing so, get creative in finding your style and being inspired.
- How did you feel when told you were being made an MBE?
Extremely proud. I thought of all those riders who’d gone before me, who fought for BMX to become an Olympic sport, who made it what it is today, and also those that helped me along my own journey, it would have been impossible alone and I certainly wasn’t on my own on that world stage. It was a cherished experience I got to share with my Dad in London, very special memories.
- What is your daily routine like?
It’s pretty simple, mornings will be some fitness or strength off the bike such as gym weights, cardio or yoga. Afternoons you’ll find me and the rest of the British Cycling team at Adrenaline Alley Skatepark in Corby working on our tricks and runs. My spare time or rest days will be filled with my other hobbies like photography, guitar, walks & village coffee shops.
- What’s a typical day’s meal/nutrition plan for you?
I try to eat as much fresh food as possible, but I don’t calorie count or anything like that. Mornings start with blueberry overnight oats and coffee, lunches are a protein with salad & a carb, and dinners I try and vary my nutrition across different veggies, grains & protein. Some healthy snacks in between.
I get a lot of inspiration from Kerry Bestwick, I often think of how good her clean tasty cooking is over the pond. The goal is to show that clean can be tasty! Of course including a little chocolate too.
- Is there advice you always get asked for?
Just people at the skatepark ask me about learning new tricks if I have thoughts on what they’re doing or tips on how to land or improve something. I’ll end up trying a trick with them too and have fun with it.
- Who would you say has been your biggest help and inspiration?
No question, Jamie Bestwick. He’s my coach, and we started the Olympic journey together. Before that he had one of the most successful careers in BMX winning Games and Dew Tours year after year, overcoming physical and mental challenges.
He’s next level in everything he does and laid the path for BMX’ers to follow. He’s helped me immensely on and off the bike and I wouldn’t be here talking to you without him. He and his family inspire me to be a better person and strive to be as great as he is one day.
- Have you got a favourite go-to song when you workout and have you got a Spotify playlist dedicated to your workout that you’d like to share with our readers that may inspire them?
I have a few on my playlist on Spotify, one heavily rock/pop punk based usually for BMX’ing, another that’s called ‘Dad FM’, old school rock and tracks that make you smile.
Some electric for when I need that shove in the gym… I’ll put on whatever hits that day and get the job done. However there was one song that managed to kick me into gear before the Olympics, “My Ex’s Best Friend” by Machine Gun Kelly, I feel sorry for the guys riding with me who aren’t the biggest MGK fans, they know all the lyrics now.
- If you could sit at the dinner table with anyone past or present who and why would you want to be there with you?
I’d fill the table with greats and rule-breakers, maybe a band or someone funny for comedic value. Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryan, Winston Churchill, Marcus Aurelius, Will Smith.
I never liked history class, but now I love reading about the discipline, passion and dedication of those who did great things, they should make history classes more about that.
- What’s next for 2023 for Charlotte Worthington?
I’d like to think a lot more winning with the British Cycling team, doing amazing things with my incredible sponsors Hyper & Snafu Bmx, Adidas, Bridgestone and Halfords, travelling & experiences with my boyfriend, friends & family, and helping others along the way.
- Where can our readers find out more about you?
Mostly Instagram is where I keep the world up to date with my BMX ventures, @chazworther.
- What does the Halfords BMX partnership mean to you? What are you most excited about?
The Halfords partnership gets me excited to opening the eyes of young people to see what the freedom of two wheels can be!
The world gets a lot bigger when you can ride a bike, it teaches you things physical & mental, it gets your heart racing, puts a smile on your face, it becomes a collection & hobby, it keeps you fit… or it gets you to school and back, that’s where it starts. It means a lot to me that we can help change the lives of youngsters by opening the door to riding a bike.
Charlotte Worthington has recently been appointed as Halfords’ BMX ambassador and has already helped the business give away 475 pre-pedalled bikes across the country to equip children with the skills and confidence to cycle safely, through a partnership with Bikeability.
You can read more about Halfords’ bike exchange programme here.