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|Connor Fields, leading the pack during U.S. Olympic BMX Time Trials. Launch Gallery »|
All that can be said about the Olympic Trials event is "Wow." All of the competing racers killed it, and the way it ended was no surprise. Connor Fields has been on fire. Since coming back from a knee injury last summer, he has been a favorite at every race he's been to, and quite often, living up to his expectations.
In the short race day, Connor Fields showed up in prime form. Missing the Olympic team in the points process (David Herman won via USA Cycling power rankings last month) Connor showed up with a point to prove, though it didn't come easy.
The 19-year-old Fields won the U.S. men's BMX trials on Saturday in Chula Vista, Calif., earning an automatic spot on the three-man team for the London Games. Fields finished in 38.203 seconds to hold off Mike Day, who clocked 38.623 over a replica of the Olympic course.
Corben Sharrah finished third and Barry Nobles finished fourth.
"It's like a lifetime accumulation of hard work and dedication, a genuine love of what I do," Fields said. "I came in knowing that I just had to win one lap and I would be in."
Corben Sharrah, a rider who hasn't made headlines since getting inured at the 2011 Worlds came out with a vengeance. Winning the time trials, first and third moto, Corben seemed to be quite the contender. 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Day also let everyone know that he was feeling like himself again, giving the young guns (Day has eight years on both Corben and Connor) a run for the Olympic spots up for grabs.
When the gate dropped in the main event, it was all Connor Fields. Coming into the event, Fields seemed non-plussed by the competition. "It was an advantage knowing that I was a shoe-in for the coaches' selection, and I even considered not racing this race and just rolling out," said Fields before the race. During the race, Connor lived up to his own hype, and the hype built around him. Fields led the final from start to finish with a comfortable lead, earning himself the third slot on Team USA.
Later in the evening at the BMX Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (where the 2008 USA Olympic team was inducted), the last two slots in the Olympic BMX Team were filled. Redline pro Alise Post took the women's spot. Following her recovery from a knee injury last summer, Post has returned to full form.
|Your 2012 USA Olympic BMX Team. From left to right: Alise Post, Arielle Martin, David Herman, Connor Fields and Nic Long.|
On the Men's side, the choice was much tighter. Aside from Connor Fields, the last American to win a World Cup was GT's Corben Sharrah. Sharrah had the start of an awesome season in 2011, but ended the World Championships that year with a broken leg, leaving him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. Corben made his stake for claim while riding the Trials race. Winning every lap that Connor lost, Corben rode flawlessly. But that was still not enough.
2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Day has the experience of an Olympian, and since coming back from having a disc in his back replaced two years ago, he has been in contention for a return to the Olympic team. Unfortunately when the announcement for the final 2012 Olympian was made, it was not Mike Day.
Haro pro Nic Long was given the final Olympian on the American Team. Long hasn't had the best handful of races, but when it comes down to the numbers, he was the sure shot. Third in points (behind Olympians David Herman and Connor Fields), Long was surely a safe bet for the selection committee. And with Nic being named, the 2012 Olympic team is complete.
Representing Team USA for BMX Racing at the 2012 London Games is David Herman, Connor Fields, Nic Long, Arielle Martin and Alise Post.