Back in February and March, the Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF) partnered with RBC, CBC and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to travel across the country and identify young, untapped athletic talent.
The RBC Training Ground program has three phases; the first being the talent combines. After four combines and 6,171 kilometres covered from Vancouver to Halifax, 400 athletes were put through their paces. Of that group, 94 athletes met the testing benchmarks previously identified by national sport organizations (NSO).
Six NSOs took part in Year 1, each looking for the next great Canadian cyclist, rower, slider, paddler and track and field or rugby star. These sports were selected because they have sophisticated means of ID’ing next generation talent and pre-established pathways from the development level to the national team level. In simple terms, athletes identified through RBC Training Ground have clear next-steps in one of these sports.
With the combines behind us, phases two and three of the program are well underway. Coaches and high performance directors have analyzed the data from the combines, and have selected the promising young athletes that they’d like to learn more about.
Already 20 athletes have taken part or are scheduled to take part in sport-specific testing – essentially a try-out with an end-goal of enrolling in a national next generation development program.
For rowing, selected athletes have been put in a 6-8 week program to see if they qualify for the Row to Podium program supporting next generation rowers.
For rugby, young women traveled to Victoria to take part in a weekend assessment. Bobsleigh and skeleton will be evaluating new athletes at their training camps in September and October.
In addition to the four regional winners, 36 other athletes that took part in Training Ground will be chosen to receive funding from RBC to continue their Olympic journey.
Visit RBCTrainingGround.ca to learn more.