Aspiring freestyle BMXers can look up to Charlotte Worthington as an example, her mother has said, as she bids for a place in the Olympic final.
Worthington, from Manchester, came fourth in the first seeding trial, meaning she could win a spot in the freestyle final on Sunday if she succeeds in a second seeding event later on Saturday.
The sport has enjoyed a high profile this year thanks to the success of Bethany Shriever, who won gold in women’s BMX racing, and “Prince of Peckham” Kye Whyte, who took silver in the men’s BMX racing.
She told Times Radio: “Charlotte is a good role model for the girls, I think.
“She would have come second or third (in the first seeding event) but she did this amazing trick called a flare at the end and that was out of time. She did brilliantly well to get seeded fourth. We’re looking forward to watching it tonight.”
After UK Sport withdrew funding for women’s BMX and men’s mountain biking, the 25-year-old worked 40 hours a week in a Mexican restaurant as she trained for this year’s Games.
Her mother added: “She just really did BMX freestyle as a hobby, which she loved. She tried to cut her shifts down (at the restaurant) so she could get more time in the skate park but she still managed to keep going off to competitions all over the place. She’d use her holiday time at work to go and do stuff.
“The big turning point was this funding from British Cycling. She had a proper way (to do it) which meant she could give up the shift work and then she rapidly improved and ended up winning the World Championship in China. That qualified her for the Olympics.”
The category is new to the Olympics, so Worthington could win place in the history books as one of the first people to win a medal for BMX freestyling.
BMX racing made its debut in Bejing 13 years ago.
Worthington’s mother said: “I’m hoping in this second final round that she just manages to get in because she has still got some more tricks that she hasn’t shown yet.
“She’s got one that she was working on that is amazing. I’m just hoping that she manages to get in all the tricks that she wants within the time, because then she’s managed to do the best that she can actually do.”