Charlotte Worthington wrote her name into BMX Freestyle folklore and won a third cycling gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics for Great Britain, when she performed a feat that had never been seen in the sport before.
In the men’s competition, Declan Brooks added a bronze to cap an incredible BMX performance by GB who have medalled in all four events at the Ariake Sports Park.
For all their Olympic cycling success in recent years, Great Britain had never won a BMX medal until Tokyo but the two Freestyle riders followed Bethany Shriever and Kye Whtye, who won gold and silver, respectively, in BMX Racing earlier in the week.
And on a day when Freestyle made its Olympic debut, the 25-year-old Worthington from Manchester became the first woman ever to pull off a spectacular backflip 360 manoeuvre.
It left her with a massive score of 97.50 from the judges, out of a possible 99.99, and saw her edge out heavy gold medal favourite, the three-time world champion Hannah Roberts of the USA.
“I’m still waiting to wake up,” said Worthington. “I’ve been working for this for absolutely years.
“I just wanted to give myself the best chance I could at doing it (backflip). It’s so easy to back down from that stuff and if you focus on the fact you fell, it’s a scary trick. It’s still scary, when you can do it, so I was just focusing on letting myself do it because I know I can.
“It gets so intense, the last few months building up to the Olympics, especially with Covid when we didn’t have any competitions but having that team support throughout British Cycling has kept us going the whole time.”
Worthington attempted the same trick in the first of her two runs of the Final only to fall as she landed, an effort which was appreciated by the watching crowd as she continued to record a score of 38.60.
With the best score from riders’ two, one-minute runs counting, Worthington then had to decide whether to attempt it again on her second, and final, run.
Having boldly opted to go for it, Worthington opened her effort with a backflip, followed by the successful backflip 360 that ensured her legendary status in the sport.
Roberts, who scored a dominant 96.10 in her first run, went last but pulled out after an early error. Nikita Ducarroz of Switzerland took bronze with an 89.20.
Brooks, 25, had a tough act to follow but turned in a superb first run, pulling off an eye-catching double backflip, the same trick that caused him to crash in the World Championships in June, leaving him with a bad concussion.
That scored 89.40 for Brooks, placing him third after the first round, and the Portsmouth rider improved on his second run - his wall ride and cork 720 particular highlights of that performance - scoring 90.80 which briefly left him in the silver position.
Veteran Daniel Dhers, of Venezuela, overtook Brooks, scoring 92.05 but Australia’s Logan Martin had already wrapped up gold with his first run of 93.30.
"I've just cried for the last couple of minutes,” Brooks told the BBC. "It's an unbelievable journey I've had on the way here.
"I am just so stoked. I don't think it will sink in for a while. For Charlotte to do her things today and put a score and tricks up there that we had never seen before it was even harder focusing.
"I knew the run I wanted to pull, I still missed a few bits out but to be honest I think that is all I had. But honestly third place for me is amazing!”
Great Britain now have five cycling medals in Tokyo, with Tom Pidcock having started the success last week when he won gold in the men’s mountain bike cross-country race.