The story of Charlotte Worthington, from chef to Olympic champion in one year: "I went from making burritos to appearing on TV"

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“Do you know of any good restaurants around here?” he asks. Charlotte Worthington in front of the Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona, ​​where the Extreme Barcelona festival was held this weekend, and the answer is difficult: it is far from the best tables in the city. “It doesn’t have to be a three Michelin star either, eh, but you can order a good paella,” he helps.

Her passion for gastronomy could be part of her rise, champion in the Tokyo 2020 BMX freestyle Games, member of the Order of the British Empire and groundbreaking image of brands such as Adidas and Bridgestone, but none of that: it comes from before. From long before. In fact, before taking his tiny bicycle and starting to do tricks in the air, Worthington worked as a chef in a Mexican restaurant near Manchester – the Racconto Lounge in Bury – and he would still do so today if his curious discipline had not become Olympic. .

«It was the job that made me who I am. Before I was a bit of a disaster and in the kitchen I learned to organize, to communicate, to be proactive. The experience of working long hours in a high-stress environment still serves me well. In fact, I would say that cooking has a lot to do with BMX. Now I train the tricks in the same way that she prepared the dishes: I repeat over and over again until they come out without thinking,” the Englishwoman details in a conversation with EL MUNDO.

Today there is no one like her in BMX freestyle. During the Tokyo Games, Worthington silenced the judges and the small audience at Ariake Park with a 360 backflip, the first completed by a woman, and no one has yet been able to match her. Until then she was an unknown in a new discipline. Now she is invited to events and galas and recognized on the streets of Manchester, her city. The British press is counting on her to win gold at the Paris 2024 Games, for which she has already qualified.

At 27 years old, Worthington is the standard bearer of a specialty in diapers and, despite her age saying otherwise, she is also a veteran. Her rivals, the American Hannah Roberts or the Chinese Huimin Zhou y Sibei Sun, they are barely of age. Few of his generation remain, like the Spanish one Teresa Fernandez-Miranda, 29 years old, in search of qualification for the Paris 2024 Games. «You have to think that BMX freestyle is a very young sport and that inclusion in the Games has changed many things. Before the competitions were a party and now they are very professional. Some veterans have not entered this format. Likewise, I don’t feel old. “Think that I started BMX at 21 years old,” she recalls and her biography, it is true, has nothing to do with that of other Olympic champions.

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