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Connor O'Leary
Amazing Race Winner 
 Cancer Survivor
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Connor O'Leary
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Professional Cyclist, Cancer Survivor, Adventurer, and Amazing Race-winner, Connor O’Leary lives to beat the odds. Having raced around the world and beaten cancer by the age of 20, Connor has faced many challenges on his hard road to victory. Sharing his difficulties, successes, and unwavering persistence, Connor inspires audiences with his vibrant and vivacious love for life.

Connor started racing in his early teens, making his way up the ranks to become one of the fiercest pro cyclists in the world. However, three days after his 19th birthday, his life did a complete 180: Connor had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. His struggles continued during treatment when he was struck with a pulmonary embolism that exploded in his lungs and heart.

His perspective on life changed during treatment. “When I went into the ER one day, and the doctor told me that I should have died,” he says. “From that point, it hasn’t been ‘man, I want to do this’ or ‘I want to do this in two years.’ It’s ‘I want to do this now.’”

Connor took the doctor’s words as a challenge. A year and a half later, he returned to the top of the sport, racing professionally for the USA National Team, as well as Bontrager Professional Cycling.

At age 22, Connor became the youngest winner in Amazing Race history, traveling over 23,000 miles through 22 cities and nine countries with his father as his partner. In 2015, he attempted to set a world record by racing 2,745 miles across the Continental Divide in under 16 days. Due to injury, Connor was unable to complete the race but will be taking the challenge on again in 2016.

“We all have so much untapped potential, and I hope that at the end of the day this might inspire people to push their own limits, whatever those limits are,” says Connor.

A Travelocity Travel Ambassador, Connor has based his life on crossing borders and breaking boundaries. His website, The O’Leary Theory, continues to document his adventures and inspire the world in the process. Connor graduated from the University of Utah and is the Chief Mission Officer of the Testicular Cancer Foundation.

 Connor O’Leary has been to the edge and back, and he’s ready to take you there.

Full Bio >
  • Connor O'Leary: Beat the Odds (2014)
  • Tour Divide 2015: Connor O'Leary (2015)
  • TEDx: Focus is a Muscle (2014)
  • Connor and His Dad Win The Amazing Race (2014)
  • Connor O'Leary at the Boys and Girls Club (2015)
  • Q & A with 'The Amazing Race' winners Connor and Dave O'Leary
  • Connor's Perseverance
  • Connor's Battle with Cancer
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Speaking Topics
The Amazing Story Behind The Amazing Race

Amazing Race All-Stars-winner Connor O’Leary takes audiences through the enormous obstacles in front of and behind the cameras of the award-winning TV show. Hit the trail with Connor as he takes you through all 23,000 miles, 22 cities and nine countries of his exhilarating trip, from his first attempt at the race and the injury that cost him and his father the competition to their remarkable return to The Amazing Race All-Stars and their ascent to victory. These are the funny, heart-wrenching, and exciting stories behind a father and son’s journey. The makings of high drama? Absolutely. Best of all, though, Connor’s story is all real. 

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Beat the Odds: A Survivor's Story

By age 18, Connor O’Leary was living his dream. A professional cyclist since 14, he was racing around Europe with USA National team and doing what he loved. But all that was about to change. Shortly before his 19th birthday, Connor was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was told that he’d never race again. The news rocked him, but never deterred him. He would get back on the bike. Connor, the youngest of five, had been taught the values of hard work and commitment since childhood. He gave himself a mantra “You will never give up. Never!” And he never did.  

Connor’s story is one of survival, hope, and determination. Through his honesty, humor, tragedy, and faith, he gives audiences the courage to believe in themselves and the power to dust themselves off and ride as fast as they can. In “Beat the Odds,” Connor tells the story of how he did just that; how cancer knocked him down and how he got right back up. 

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Focus is a Muscle

Training to become a champion requires more than reps in the gym. It takes commitment on and off the field, and no one knows more about this than Connor O’Leary.  

Still in his 20s, Connor has never shyed away from his goals. A professional cyclist since his teens, he’s raced around the world, survived cancer, and won CBS‘s The Amazing Race All-Stars. But how can someone so young have the mental fortitude to do so much? Connor says he owes his career to one thing: focus. 

Since he was a child, Connor has realized that to reach the finish line, he must concentrate on his goal, break it down, and adapt to the unknown obstacles that stand in his way. If he wanted to complete a 500-mile bike race, then he must take into account what popcorn at the movies or a late night out with his friends means to his goal. By always reminding himself of what he wants, he’s able to make each decision with his eyes squarely on the prize. 

In “Focus is Muscle,” Connor gives audiences usable advice for making their goals achievable. This method filters your whole life through things you want most and teaches you to commit to your dreams. 

Focus is a muscle, and in this speech Connor will teach you to flex yours.

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Run Your Own Race: Preparation, Positivity, and Perseverance

Equilibrium is a genuine balance of mind, body, and spirit, and the quality that separates average people from top performers. 23-year-old Connor O’Leary, the winner of The Amazing Race All-Stars professional cyclist, and cancer survivor, believes that to achieve equilibrium, you must master three things: preparation, positivity, and perseverance. 

In “Run Your Own Race,” Connor explains how a combination of preparation, positivity, and perseverance can help you overcome any obstacle. Now a member of the USA National Team, he credits these components as the secret to his success. He shares the power of mental toughness and competitive drive, describing how he balances a strong mental game with physical conditioning and faith. His positive mental attitude was the glue that held him together, allowing him to beat the odds and stand in the winner’s circle. Connor O’Leary’s presentation reinforces the power of the human spirit within all of us. 

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“Connor O’Leary delivered a wonderful presentation Saturday afternoon good enough to launch a career. In fact, it was perfect. His timing was well measured, content enhanced by the video clips, sequence was right and the delivery was spectacular connecting with everyone in the room. The best was that we were all left being in his corner and cheering on his courage as a survivor while at the same time feeling great about our own. His presentation was the absolute best of conference.”
MD Anderson
“The strength and determination he continues to have with everything he have overcome, is outstanding. Best retreat speaker in our 14-year history!”
AMC Property Management
“Connor O'Leary made the impossible seem attainable through his talk. He inspired all 500+ people in the room with his story and gave us applicable lessons about focus that we could all reapply to our own lives. He conveyed his circumstances, though they seemed extreme at first, into relatable anecdotes that were not only entertaining, but also thought-provoking. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience to hear him speak.”
TEDxUIUC at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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