In the months preceding the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, inspiration came from an unlikely place for British snowboard star Charlotte Bankes – BMX racing.
Team GB saw incredible highs in the sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the likes of British riders Beth Shriever and Kye White, both of whom achieved medal glory over the summer.
Looking ahead to the Beijing Games, Bankes, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, hopes to channel the success these riders achieved in her own sport.
She 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.
“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.”
Born in the UK, Bankes moved to the French Alps aged four, where she soon took up snowboarding, following in the tracks of her older brothers, William and Thomas.
In 2010, at the age of 15, she began competing internationally for her adopted nation, but made the decision to switch to Team GB in 2018.
Team GB has never won a gold medal in snowboarding at the Winter Olympics before – but Bankes is determined to change that.
Thanks to incredible success at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships 2021 in Sweden, she is now the reigning World Snowboard Cross champion, putting her in an incredibly strong position ahead of the upcoming Winter 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 National Lottery funding – said: “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.”
Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.