Athlete Spotlight: Connor Fields
On August 19, 2016, in his final race, Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev.) led from the starting gate to the finish line to take home Olympic gold – Team USA's first gold medal in BMX racing. It was a dream come true for the two-time Olympian.
At age 14, Fields had taken a sharpie to the wall in his parents’ garage and wrote, ‘One day I will be national and world champion.’ BMX was not yet an Olympic sport, but he knew where he wanted his racing career to take him.
Now, Fields owns numerous medals and trophies collected throughout his career. He has captured three USA Cycling national titles and won the rainbow jersey in the Time Trial at both the 2012 and 2013 UCI World Championships. Since winning gold in Rio, he has continued to focus on getting to the podium in every race he enters, and now he is seeking his first World Championship in head-to-head racing.
Fields is ready to face the world’s best riders this week at the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. As he was training with the team in France prior to departing for Baku, he talked with USA Cycling about his goals and looked back at his career to date.
When did you start racing BMX and how did you get involved with the sport?
I started racing BMX at age 7 when my mom found a flyer advertising the local BMX track. She knew I enjoyed riding my bike and thought it would be a great fit.
What is your favorite memory of racing?
If I had to pick a single memory it would have to be the feeling of winning at the Olympics and sharing in that joy with many of the people who helped along the way. It's hard to top that.
What do you think about as you are racing?
I try not to think. BMX happens so fast that it is mostly instinctual and reactive, so I do my best to have a clear headspace while competing.
You have had some pretty significant injuries, how do you overcome those fears when you get back on the bike?
I think injuries are something people in all sports have to deal with. In any sport there are inherent risks involved and you have to be comfortable with the associated risks in order to compete.
If you weren’t a professional BMX racer, what would you want to do?
I don't know exactly. I definitely would have gone to school, done some internships, and tried to figure out what I was most interested in!
You’ve had major successes, like winning Olympic gold, and big setbacks with injuries. How do you stay focused on achieving your goals? What are your goals for the rest of 2018 going into 2019?
Any time you set a major goal there will be setbacks and difficulties along the way. I try my best to go with the ebbs and flows involved with going for the highest of athletic achievements. I think for me at the end of the day when I set a goal I am committed to it 100% and I will do everything I can to see it through. Going into the second half of this year I would like to get back to consistently winning and being on the podium at any event I race. I have had a couple of unfortunate injuries, so the first half of the year hasn't gone as well as I would have liked. But, I have plenty of experience to draw from as I work on getting back where I need to be.
How do you use the World Cups to prepare for World Championships? What do you work/focus on?
I try not to use any event as "preparation." If I am going to compete I try to do my absolute best no matter what the event is, then reflect on my performance, learn, and move forward one race at a time.
Fields is one of 12 Team USA riders racing in the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. More than 2,000 athletes representing over 50 countries are expected to ride in the five-day event from June 5-9. The 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 races and Finals are scheduled for Saturday, June 9 at 8:40 pm local in Baku / 12:40 pm ET.
Find the complete event schedule HERE. [http://bakubmx2018.com/#program]
For more information on the complete U.S. lineup and how to follow the week’s racing click HERE. [link to team announcement]
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