My Fragomen Journey… to Tokyo
| Bradley Johnston Leyer

My Fragomen Journey… to Tokyo

Bradley Johnston Leyer describes how Fragomen has become an essential ally in his quest to qualify for the Olympics 

My high school classmates would probably have voted me the least likely person to become a professional athlete, let alone attempt to qualify for the Olympics in fencing.

I am currently on the final stretch before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier (the games are currently scheduled to take place in July 2021 as they were deferred from 2020 because of the pandemic). The next few months will be crucial for my preparation to secure the Americas’ last ticket for the Tokyo games. Fragomen has become an essential ally for me on the route to achieving my Olympic dream, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be an athlete-worker at this firm.

The pandemic turned the world upside down during 2020, but having the Olympic Games postponed a year might prove favorable to me since it presents the opportunity to prepare in different ways than what anyone expects in a regular (COVID-19-free) Olympic season. During the many days that I’ve been social distancing at home, I’ve been able to practice yoga and meditation as alternate forms of preparation. My brother is a yoga teacher, and I had not taken advantage of his knowledge and advice because of my strict fencing training. Working on my breathing and flexibility for several months may improve strategic elements in my gameplay, together with the mental conditioning that yoga and meditation grant.

Fragomen and core values 

Representing my country at the highest international level has fueled my drive for achieving excellence in what I do. I have slowly understood the complexities of the many factors involved in learning a trade and becoming a top player. People at Fragomen realize what it takes to be the best, and the core values required to be successful are the same, whether it’s dealing with the myriad immigration and mobility issues faced by our clients and their employees, or on the fencing strip.

In December 2017, a few months after starting work at Fragomen, I obtained Costa Rica’s first gold medal ever for men’s epee fencing at a Central American level. At this point, I was motivated by our firm’s leadership to continue pursuing my fencing goals and that I could count on my team to work jointly for everyone’s benefit. With this support, I have competed in many cities worldwide, including Vancouver; Wuxi, China; Buenos Aires, and Bern, while helping Fragomen’s Latin America Region (LAR) produce their email templates.

Team support

Fencing is considered an individual sport by most people, but I don’t think so. When I step on the fencing strip and face my opponent, I know that I’m not alone. I’ve been very privileged to have so much support from the people around me. My family, friends, teammates, coaches, our sports institutions and my colleagues at Fragomen are always cheering me on through thick and thin. I’ve come to understand that my success or failure does not depend solely on the amount of work I put in to improve my skills. It has taken me time to realize that when the people around me improve, I get better. When the group’s level increases and everyone is working towards the same goal, you can’t help but have faith that results will come. It takes a massive weight off your shoulders when you know that your team will have your back no matter what happens.

There is so much work to be done, both inside and outside the fencing hall. Besides being an athlete, I´ve also delved into sports activism to improve the conditions for athletes. I have a great deal of experience working with both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Thanks to a joint effort in which I´ve taken part, every political party in the Costa Rican Congress has agreed to push for Constitutional reform and include sport, recreation, and physical activity as fundamental human rights. This is the least I can do to give back to a sport, community, and lifestyle that have turned things around for me for the better.

In 2018 I did a fencing camp in Mexico City for a week, during which I met the fantastic Fragomen team in Mexico City. My sport and my work provide me with the most diverse friends from across the world, and for this, I´m thankful. The fencing world tour will take me to many cities in the years to come, and I hope I get a chance to drop by more of our Fragomen offices around the globe. I know what a privilege it is to practice the sport that I love, travel the world and work at the world’s leading immigration law firm. My time in Fragomen has brought much-needed personal growth that reflects my fencing as I learn from the outstanding colleagues that work and train with me.

Upcoming qualifier

The Olympic qualifier will take place in Panama City in April. Before that, I will continue training in Costa Rica and probably do some competitions and training camps in Europe or the United States. Whether I qualify for my first Olympic Games in Tokyo or not, it won’t be the end of the road for me. As the fencing level in Costa Rica increases, I know that our chances will be even better for Paris 2024 or even the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

This blog was published on 1 March 2021, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our COVID-19 microsite, subscribe to our alerts and follow us LinkedIn.