Among the 477 athletes heading to the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, seven are RBC Training Ground ‘Future Olympians’.
Since its inception, RBC Training Ground continues to enhance its search for Canada’s future Olympians. For the last four years, the nation-wide talent identification and athlete funding program has travelled the country in search of Canada’s future Olympians, and has tested over 7,400 next generation athletes.
The RBC Training Ground class of ‘Future Olympians’ is comprised of the athletes that NSO’s have identified over the years as having significant Olympic potential, and who have received funding and support from RBC as they pursue their Olympic dreams.
This summer, seven of these ‘Future Olympians’ have been selected to represent Team Canada as they compete at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games. Here are their stories:
Cycling – Track
Kelsey Mitchell (RBC Training Ground, 2017)
Kelsey Mitchell was originally a team sport athlete competing in soccer for 18 years. After participating in RBC Training Ground in 2017, she was selected by Cycling Canada to try sprint track cycling. The decision has started to pay off, as she won the women’s sprint event the 2018 Canadian Track Championships last year.
Earlier this year, she competed at the Hong Kong World Cup and finished sixth.
Pierce LePage (RBC Training Ground, 2016)
Pierce LePage is the first-ever winner of RBC Training Ground. Before participating in the program, had been a track and field competitor since the age of 12.
When he was 17-years-old, LePage began competing in the decathlon, and won the decathlon title at the 2017 Canadian Track and Field Championships.
After winning RBC Training Ground, he went on to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, winning silver, and just last month won his first International Decathlon event.
Jerome Blake (2017 RBC Training Ground)
Sprinter Jerome Blake will compete in the 200m and the 4x100m relay. He was originally a 400m hurdler living in Jamaica, but switched to sprinting after a coach spotted him testing his speed on a track while he was supervising his younger brother on a soccer field.
Last year, Blake competed at the NACAC Championships in Toronto, and was a member of the 4x100m relay team that won gold.
Canoe Kayak (Sprint)
Jacob Steele (RBC Training Ground, 2018)
Jacob Steele has been racing in Canoe Kayak since he was 8 years old.
He competed at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, winning 3 medals for Nova Scotia. Steele also participated in the 2018 International Canoe Federation World University Championships. Last year he also attended the 2018 National Team Trials, finishing in 3rd in the K-2 1000m A final.
Alanna Bray-Lougheed (RBC Training Ground, 2016)
Alanna Bray-Lougheed played several sports growing up – swimming, dance, tennis and softball to name a few. Her first experience with canoeing came when her family purchased a canoe for their cabin. Her mom signed her up for a canoeing program since she did not know how to paddle it.
Bray-Lougheed joined the national team in 2015, and reached the A final of the K-2 1000m at her first senior ICF World Championships in 2017, finishing sixth with her partner.
Anna Negulic (2017 RBC Training Ground)
Anna Negulic represented Canada at the 2018 FISU World University Canoe Sprint Championships, reaching the A finals of all four of her events.
She also competed at the U23 World Championships in 2017 after attending the Junior World Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Canoe Kayak (Slalom)
Liam Smedley (RBC Training Ground, 2018)
Liam Smedley took up canoeing because it was an activity his entire family participated in. At the 2018 National Championships, he won bronze in the Men’s C1 event.
He has also competed at the 2016 U23 World Championships and ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 4 in 2017.