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Connor O’Leary: On Realizing A Dream

It was heartbreaking. More than enough to haunt even the headstrong.

Last year, Connor O’Leary finished 15th on the World Qualifying Series. That’s two spots away from World Tour qualification — which means a year’s worth of hard work, hundreds of flights, close wins, narrow losses and a rollercoaster of emotion all equated to a painful pile of nothing.

That’s where the dream dies for most. But not for Connor.

He didn’t start so strong this year — call it a hangover — but then something changed. Suddenly, he was standing on a stage in Ballito, South Africa. A crowd of people were gathered around him, clapping, yelling, cheersing and cheering. A stranger handed him an oversized check and a trophy. He’d just won the biggest event of his life.

“I didn’t even know what to do with my hands,” Connor laughs. “I remember thinking woah, I’m making some big heats. Then woah, I’m in the final. Then woah, I won. It literally felt like I was just dreaming it.”

He wasn’t.

The dream was real.

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