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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Connor Fields and the art of concentration

In mid-June, 19-year-old Nevada native Connor Fields earned an Olympic berth spot at the U.S. Men's BMX Time Trials in Chula Vista, Calif. -- though it wasn't the time or place that anyone had expected Fields to earn the berth. Earlier last month, at the UCI BMX Championships in Birmingham, UK, Fields was expected to grab the "Automatic Nomination" spot for the 2012 Team USA Olympic BMX team.

Things didn't go as planned.

Heading into the race, Fields was leading in points on the USA Cycling BMX power rankings. Unfortunately, he crashed in the Quarterfinals and did not make the Main event. That left David Herman chasing the "Automatic Nomination" spot. (Herman needed a sixth place or better to edge Fields in the power rankings.) In the last turn of the Main, New Zealand's Marc Willers crashed, taking Herman and Maris Strombergs down with him. Herman got back up and crossed the finish line in fifth place. He had won the first spot on the Team USA 2012 Olympic BMX race team.

Meanwhile, Connor Fields finished in 30th place.

Still a contender, Fields had to wait several weeks for the Chula Vista Time Trials for another chance, mentally questioning the circumstances surrounding his unforeseen slip up in Birmingham. Fields ultimately achieved his goal of becoming an Olympic athlete, winning the Trials with a time of 38.203 seconds. Following the race, Fields revealed a new part of his training regimen -- "Don't get too far ahead, concentrate on the race at hand."

Now heavily focused on training for the London Games, Connor Fields spends his days at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., preparing both mentally and physically for the biggest race of his BMX career. And despite the small bump in the road Fields suffered at the UCI BMX Championships in Birmingham, he remains confident heading into London.

"You just flick the switch on in your head, and before you know it, you're on the podium hearing The National Anthem," says Fields. "That's what I have to believe."

Fields travels to London, UK for the London Olympic Games in August, joining fellow Team USA BMX riders David Herman, Nic Long, Alise Post and Arielle Martin. BMX racing begins on August 8 at Olympic Park in London.