Freestyle BMX sensation Charlotte Worthington admits she is tempering her excitement for a potential Olympic debut until her place at Tokyo 2020 is written in stone.
With only a year to go until the world’s biggest sporting event, the 23-year-old from Manchester has the chance to be part of a new dawn for her sport at next year’s Games.
And should she secure qualification for Tokyo, it would complete a remarkable rise for Worthington who has quickly worked her way up the ranks despite only jumping on a BMX three years ago.
But Worthington insists she is not taking her seat on the plane to Tokyo for granted.
“I’m definitely excited that’s there is only a year to go, but I’m also a tiny bit nervous as I just want to make sure I get there to be honest as the build-up has been crazy,” she said.
“It’s been a huge learning experience from changing my lifestyle, becoming a true athlete and learning all about the competitions, it’s been a really big learning curve for me.
“I do wish I could sit back and relax and think we’ve made it, get really excited, but we’ve still got hard work to do and that’s part of the journey doing that graft.
“I would definitely love to get a medal, I would always love to look at gold, but sometimes you have to not think about the result to get the best result you can. You just have to focus on yourself
“It’s definitely come around very quickly, especially the last year as it’s absolutely flown by and I expect the time is only going to go quicker in the nearer months running up to the Olympics.”
Freestyle BMX is one of several new sports, along with sport climbing and skateboarding, added to the Tokyo 2020 Games as the Olympic movement looks to embrace a new ‘urban’ era.
Competitors are allowed two one-minute runs each to perform a series of tricks and techniques which are judged - and Worthington believes the sport will be an instant hit for audiences.
“It’s incredibly exciting for freestyle BMX to be part of the Olympic Games, I never thought it would go to the Olympics, we’re all amazed and we’re so happy,” she said.
“We all started this as a hobby because we absolute love it and it’s a really exciting sport to watch so I think it will be a great addition to the Olympics.
“My initial reaction when I found out was a bit like my mind was blown, is this really going to happen? ‘Wow, we’re actually going to be going to Tokyo 2020’.
“To see the reality now that’s it’s only a year to go and know that it is now within our grasp is really exciting and I’m really happy with how my preparations have gone.
“I feel like I have made a lot of progression since the winter and I want to maintain that momentum as I’ve still got room to improve. My goals are really high so I’m always looking to get better.”
Every four years, Great Britain comes together in a collective celebration of sport and Worthington hopes the whole nation will get behind Team GB again when Olympic fever sweeps the world.
“I’m really excited to see how the Olympics unifies the country, especially with the addition of new sports and especially with the addition BMX freestyle and skateboarding,” she said.
“They are so inclusive to everyone, they are so inclusive to a lot of young people because they are an outlet to a lot of young people so I’m hoping it’s going to connect to the youth.
“It’s very inspiring to watch athletes at the top of their game and see it go right on the day, it’s amazing to watch and it will definitely be inspiring to the next generation.”