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25.09.2018 13:53
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Shortly after the 2012 London Olympics, U.S. BMX racer Connor Fields returned to his hometown of Las Vegas, bought a house and immediately set to work decorating. As a kid, hed adorned a wall in the family garage by writing a promise to himself to one day become a national champion, a world champ and an Olympic champ. A two-time Olympian and three-time World Cup winner, Fields has made good on most of those goals. But one still eludes him.So on the wall of his new home in Vegas, he placed another reminder. Among the pieces of art he purchased to commemorate the countries hed visited while competing around the world -- New Zealand, South Africa, France, Australia -- he placed a 6-foot wide panorama of the Rio de Janeiro skyline behind its famed Christ the Redeemer statue. It was an image of a city hed yet to visit, but held his aspirations for the next four years.Im not going to lie, says Fields, 23. There are days when you dont want to get up and go to work. Its nice to have a reminder of why youre getting off the couch, strapping on the helmet and going down an 8-meter-tall starting hill with seven dudes trying to kill you.After a strong start in the early rounds in London, Fields finished off the podium in seventh. It was a respectable showing for the youngest rider in the race (he was 19 at the time), but one that left him dissatisfied and wanting more. I was happy with my performance until finals, says Fields, who missed the latter half of the 2016 season with a broken hand but returned to competition in time to be granted a coachs selection for Rio. I had one bad start. But thats BMX racing. You could run the Olympic race 10 times and get 10 different winners. Thats what makes it so exciting for spectators. The fastest guy doesnt always win. But Im going to be more prepared this time for that bigger moment at the end.The same could be said for all five members of the U.S. team. Four of the five -- Fields, Nic Long, Alise Post and Brooke Crain -- competed in London. Corben Sharrah, who rounds out the Rio team and won the U.S. Olympic trials race in July, traveled to London as an alternate.In Beijing, the Americans won three medals in BMX cyclings Olympic debut, including a team-best silver by Mike Day. Each rider in London hoped to be the first to bring a gold medal back to the States, the birthplace of the sport. But Post crashed in her semifinal heat. Crain, a last-minute replacement when Arielle Martin was injured, finished last in the final, and Long was eliminated in quarterfinals.Being successful at the Olympics is about handling the pressure and remembering why you are where you are and not worrying about the little things, Post says. Staying focused so you dont build up this race to be something special, where everyones eyes are on you. In London, people kept telling me how I would feel, and I expected to feel overwhelmed. So by the end of it, I was.All five members of the U.S. team have the potential to medal or win in Rio. But in the years since the sport made its Olympic debut, that task has become tougher as the rest of the worlds riders have caught up with their American peers. Some countries, such as Australia and France, have well-funded, well-developed Olympic programs. Others such as Colombia, which produced 2012 womens champ Mariana Pajon, have passionate, hungry athletes who perform well in big moments.After Beijing, many countries invested in their programs and built tracks, which took away the advantage the U.S. had pre-2008, when the Olympic replica track in Chula Vista, California, was the only one like it in the world. (Well, except for the Olympic track in Beijing.) Most countries now have open-door policies at their facilities, including the U.S. In the weeks leading up to the Rio Games, the U.S. riders remained in Chula Vista to train, but top riders from several countries lined up in the start gate alongside them, as well. Thats a big change from pre-2012, and one USA Cycling BMX director Jamie Staff believes will be invaluable to his riders.I saw value in allowing our competitors to train here, he says. The advantage of having the only track in the world is gone. I wanted to expose our athletes to the stresses of competition on a more frequent basis. If they are on the gate with the best in the world more often, they will be uncomfortable more often. Theyll know where they stand, and it keeps the pressure on them. Besides, where would you rather have your competition? Next to you where I can film them and time them or on the other side of the world?In those late-July practices, Staff saw greatness in his riders and believes they match up well no matter who is in the start gate next to them come Fridays finals. For their part, his riders hope all their hard work adds up to the first BMX Olympic gold medal for the U.S.It was disappointing to not have hardware from anyone on the team in London considering we were so successful in Beijing, Post says. We were a young team, and now were back with experience. To get a gold medal and be the first U.S. rider to win would be amazing. This is our sport, and to bring it back to our country would mean a lot. Its hard for a sport to stand out in the U.S. without a gold medal. Itd be cool to be the person to bring it home.If its Fields who does so, its likely he already knows precisely where the medal will hang in his home. Greg Maddux Jersey . The Lightning are 2-0 so far on a four-game road trip, giving the club five straight wins as the guest and improving Tampas away record this season to 11-8-2. Freddie Freeman Jersey .C. -- After a listless first half, the Washington Wizards used a big third quarter run to beat the Charlotte Bobcats Bradley Beal scored 21 points and the Wizards used a 17-0 run in the third quarter to take control of what had been a close game and beat the Bobcats 97-83 on Tuesday night. http://www.thebravesteamshop.com/Braves-Hank-Aaron-Kids-Jersey/ . Tracey comes to the Blue Bombers after spending over a decade with Queens University. Most recently he was the schools assistant football coach. Atlanta Braves Jerseys . This should be celebrated because it will not always be this way. With the amount of money given to players by their clubs these days, it is a wonder that so many of those teams allow the sport to continue to take away many of their assets so they can play for a different team in the middle of their season. Phil Niekro Jersey .Y. -- Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone has drawn on his Syracuse connections once again by hiring Rob Moore to take over as receivers coach.West Ham co-chairman David Gold has told Sky Sports that he expects the club to sell every single seat at the Olympic Stadium next season. The Hammers are preparing to leave the Boleyn Ground - their home since 1904 - at the end of the current campaign and will begin their 99-year tenancy at the 54,000-seater Olympic Stadium in Stratford in August. There have been some suggestions that West Ham will struggle to fill their new home, but Gold insists the club are well on their way to ensuring that will not be the case. Certainly over 30,000 tickets have already been sold. We expect to sell all the season tickets, Gold told Sky Sports. West Ham will move into thhe Olympic Stadium in August Everybody has believed that 35,000 at Upton Park that you are going to have empty seats with 54,000 seats at the Olympic Stadium.dddddddddddd Well, we are going to sell those 54,000 [seats] and sadly there are going to be some disappointed fans. West Ham will play their first fixture at the Olympic Stadium on August 5 and Sky Sports understands the club are hoping to attract a top European club to east London for a stellar pre-season fixture. Reigning European champions Barcelona are understood to one of the clubs on West Hams radar. 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