Connor Fields Thanks His Parents As He Prepares For A "Roller Coaster" In Tokyo
by Connor Fields
Connor Fields competing during the men's BMX final at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
Mom and Dad,
Where do I even start? How does one put into words what you have meant to me throughout my entire life, as well as my Olympic journey? I’m not entirely sure, but I am going to do my best to do it justice.
In a million years, I never would have guessed that I would be writing you this letter today as a 28-year-old Olympic Champion on the eve of his third Olympic berth. When by fate, luck or both you found that flyer for Nellis BMX in 1999, our lives changed forever.
Even before BMX, I was lucky to have you as parents. You both worked hard to provide me with every opportunity possible while simultaneously instilling good values and principles into me from a young age. No matter what sport or activity I would have fallen in love with, I am confident you would have been the best support system possible. From the beginning, we all knew it was BMX that I loved, and so began the journey that has led us to today.
You have both played different, yet equally important roles in my journey, and I will never be able to express the extent by which you have enabled me to succeed as an athlete and as a man. Like I have always said, me winning gold in Rio was the ultimate way to thank you for everything. While I was the one who received the medal, you both deserved medals of your own for your roles as my parents. All of my best qualities I learned from you two - whether it is Mom’s tenacity and grit or Dad’s ability to set a plan in motion then follow through to the very end.
Mom, thank you for always being the first person in my corner. All sports are hard, and I may be biased in saying this, but BMX is so dang hard. It is a roller coaster physically, mentally, and emotionally. You have always been my rock on those three things. From cleaning up my scrapes or taping my ankle up after a crash to now when you tell me to be strong after an injury, you have always been there to help me handle the physical trials. Honestly, I don’t know how you were able to watch me compete on some of these tracks with giant jumps. Mentally, you have always been the only one who can get through to me if I am having a rough patch or doubting myself. There are many races that I owe my performance to you and what you said to me the morning of or night before. It’s funny, others noticed this too, so you have become the “bat phone” that people know to call when I am in a rough patch. People know you can get through to me. Finally, emotionally you have always understood me better than anyone and have been my biggest supporter through all the ups and downs, even with the excessive heat, dust, and porta-potties!
Dad, how could I ever express my gratitude for the time and energy you put into my racing? I didn’t fully understand it at 10 years old, but now I do. I’m sure you had a hundred other things you wanted to do on a weekend rather than watch me do lap after lap at the track, but you always took me and allowed me to stay as long as I wanted. I’m sure you didn’t want to use your paycheck on bike parts every time, but you always did without hesitation. Even now you are the first person to wish me good luck and first to text after a good or bad race. I know you are truly my biggest fan. Even when you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few years ago, you didn’t let that stop you from coming to Rio. I remember telling you that you didn’t need to come and you said “a little discomfort while traveling isn’t going to stop me from being there if you win.” Well Dad, we won and got to have that special moment at the fence. I will remember that forever.
Neither of you will be able to attend Tokyo, and I am sad about that as it will likely be my last Olympic Games. I wanted one more chance to compete in front of you guys and do my best to make you proud. I know there is no way I will ever truly be able to thank you for your unconditional love and support, but here is what I will do to try - I will do my best to represent my country as best as I can in Tokyo both on and off the bike. I will continue to try to be the best person I can be and I will also do my best to provide the same opportunities for my future children that you did for me whatever their passion may be. Thank you for being the best parents a kid could ever ask for.
With all my love,
Your son, Connor Fields