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The magic of the crowd in urban sports
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The magic of the crowd in urban sports

Lights, camera, cheers: how athletes feed off the oohs and aahs of the spectators

Britain Charlotte Worthington had exactly this level of focus as she powered her way to a historic gold medal in the women’s BMX freestyle at Tokyo 2020.

The lack of spectators didn’t faze her during the competition, but when Worthington climbed to the podium to receive her medal and sunflower bouquet, she admits the experience could have been more impactful.

Now she is looking forward to getting that atmosphere back at the OQS.

“Competing in these types of environments, it is perhaps the biggest stage we have participated in so far,Worthington told Olympics.com. “There will be a lot of people. There will be a vibrant atmosphere, the stakes will be high and expectations will be high, so I think we have to prepare for a very big event and it will be exciting.”

More than just thrilling, athletes say a packed grandstand can actually help improve their performance or, in Thompson-Smith’s case, literally jack them up the wall.

“Climbing is one of those sports where the crowd definitely gets involved and hypes it up,” the British athlete said. “The energy that a crowd can give can really give you the extra effort you need to achieve something, because the mental aspect of climbing is huge and just having confidence, belief and support makes such a big difference .

“In a match you can bring that few extra percent, but in training you sometimes don’t have that, I think the crowd and the energy are what makes the difference,” she continued. “And so I’m really looking forward to getting all the support from the audience at OQS. It just makes it bigger and more important.”