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Snowboard star Charlotte Bankes is using her sport's summer equivalent as inspiration for yet more success at the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, writes Milly McEvoy.
Bankes, from Hemel Hempstead, watched on as Beth Shriever and Kye White captured the nation’s hearts with thrilling gold and silvers in BMX racing at Tokyo 2020.
The 2021 world champion will be representing Team GB for the first time at Beijing 2022 and hopes the excitement of her sport will get people out of bed in the early mornings and on the edge of their seats.
With under 100 days to go until the Games, Bankes – who is able to train full-time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding – said: “That was a great race and they did super well – it is great to see that and it's also an inspiration to try and do the same thing in February, hopefully.
🇬🇧Here's how Charlotte Bankes became Britain's first snowboarding world champion.
Watch until the end! 🤯pic.twitter.com/or08juVquh
— Team GB (@TeamGB) February 11, 2021
“Snowboard cross normally does pretty well at the Olympics in terms of the audiences and people love it.
“It is something that kids can look up to and think: ‘oh yeah, we can do that’, and it's quite a good sport because it has a bit of everything in snowboarding put together.
“It's just simple because it's racing four by four and the first to get to the bottom wins, so it's pretty simple.
“That's what I like about the sport.”
The 26-year-old moved from the UK to the French Alps aged four and soon took up snowboarding, following in the snow tracks of William and Thomas, her brothers.
Having previously represented France on the world stage, Bankes made the switch to compete for her native Britain in 2018 and will make her British debut on the Winter Olympic stage in China.
1⃣,0⃣0⃣0⃣moments and memories.
Team GB and @ParalympicsGB athletes have now won 1,000 medals since National Lottery funding began in 1997.
Thank you to all the players and to @TNLUK.#TeamGB #MakeAmazingHappen pic.twitter.com/neSVONRbE2
— Team GB (@TeamGB) August 31, 2021
National Lottery funding powered British athletes to an incredible 189 Olympic and Paralympic medals in Tokyo and Bankes says she’s hellbent on following suit.
The Hertfordshire ace, who improved on her 2019 World Championship silver to win gold this year, added: “The World Championships last year was pretty amazing and it's nice to be on top with the GB flag and representing all that on the big scene.
“But just winning races and winning World Cups is also a goal – that's how I race, anyway.
“It's just trying to be in front in every race I do and have fun, but for sure – the Olympics is a big goal of next season.”
No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes including grassroots and elite sport. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes