Connor Fields is a three-time Olympian, two-time World Champion, and the first American to win Olympic BMX Gold. As one of the world’s all-time greatest BMX racers, Connor has represented the United States 50+ times in 25+ countries. At 17-Years-Old, Connor became the youngest rider to ever podium a BMX World Cup. However, his racing career was not always marked by triumphs.
At the 2021 Tokyo Games, as the number one seed in his semi-final and on pace to battle for another medal, Connor went down in one of the worst crashes in Summer Olympic history. Based on previous results, Connor still qualified for the 2021 Olympic BMX final, but instead of competing in that final race he fought for his life in an ambulance. Connor sustained multiple injuries – broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and torn shoulder and bicep ligaments, as well as brain swelling and four life-threatening brain hemorrhages.
The road to recovery took him through surgery, therapy, and intense physical and cognitive rehabilitation. Connor had to regain the energy to do simple tasks, strengthen short term memory, relearn vocabulary, and even how to speak properly. He learned first-hand that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors go through physical, mental and emotional changes throughout their recovery. Not only did he face the agonizing pain of being denied the chance to defend his Gold Medal, but Connor also has no memory of competing in his final Olympics – the moment he trained his entire life for.
Connor realized that just like in training, life is not about being perfect or getting everything 100% right. People focus on the last 1% when it’s the 99% that creates champions. It wasn’t the last 1% – a second Olympic Gold – that would make Connor a champion. It was the 99% of who he already was that made him a champion. After 11 months he was officially fully recovered and cleared to ride again. Determined to not let his final race define 22 years of riding, on day-one he jumped on his bike and rode again to conquer the fear that threatened to keep him off the track. Understandably anxious to hit routine jumps, he took them on and beat the demons that chased him. In his words: “Don’t let adversity define you.”
Connor continues to ride and coach BMX, no passion for the sport lost to the worst of Olympic scenarios. His story has been featured by the Today Show, Sports Illustrated, and Vanity Fair Magazine. He was part of the Polo Ralph Lauren Sport campaign, has been a guest at the White House, and was nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award.
In his presentations, Connor opens the curtains to a rarely seen experience of what it takes to win sport’s greatest prize and overcome extreme adversity. He openly shares with audiences his journey of recovery and self-discovery, and the practical applications of hard-won lessons learned. Through authentic and engaging storytelling, Connor provides real-world strategies for peak performance, inspires resiliency, and motivates audiences towards greater success. “No matter who you are, no matter what you do, every single decision you make matters.” – Connor Fields