Cycling: American BMX racer bounces back from broken hand

Fri Aug 5, 2016 2:46pm EDT
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By Mary Milliken

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - BMX cyclists might have the fastest first two seconds of any event in the Olympic Games - coming out of a gate on an eight-meter high wall and going from zero to 56 km per hour in just two beats.

For American racer and two-time Olympian Connor Fields, those two seconds account for 75 percent of his training and often determine if he can win the race which usually lasts less than 40 seconds.

"We work our butts off and I think we have one of the most difficult sports in the Games because we require so many different skills," said Fields while training in California before he heads to Rio de Janeiro for his event on Aug. 17-19.

"You have to have reaction time, explosive strength and speed to get off the blocks and out of the starting gate. But you also need body awareness and ability like a gymnast," he added.

Past the initial steep hill, it's then on to 30 to 40 jumps, simultaneously with eight other riders. The opportunities for things to go awry are ubiquitous and Fields knows all too well how the dream of gold can slip away in a matter of seconds.

At the London Olympics in 2012, Fields was the No. 1 seed in the final at just 19 years of age, the youngest racer in the field. He crashed, finished seventh and as he describes it "at 19 it is hard not to seem like the end of the world."

Link to photo slideshow:


U.S. Olympic BMX athlete Connor Fields takes some air over rollers as he trains at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California, United States, July 23, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake