‘Sets them on an Olympic path’ How young Manitoba athletes are finding new elite sports to play

The search for the next generation of elite Canadian athletes came to Winnipeg Saturday.

RBC Training Ground is an athletic program looking for unfound talent who could one day represent Canada at the Olympics.

“It helps people 14-25 find maybe sports that they weren’t previously identified for or interested in, and sets them on an Olympic path,” said Team Canada bobsleigh athlete Eden Wilson.

Participants complete a series of drills, and their results will allow scouts to determine if they would be a good fit for Olympic sports such as cycling, luge, and speed skating.

“There is a strength test, a power test, a speed test as well as an endurance test so within those, there are different markers for each national sports organization to look at,” said Wilson.

She said one of the best-known Olympians to be discovered through this program was Albertan Kelsey Mitchell.

“She came through Training Ground and then four years later won a gold medal in track cycling at the Olympics, which is incredible,” Wilson said.

She added that RBC Training Ground will fund up to 30 athletes to represent Canada at the Olympics.

“This is an incredible event that provides opportunities for people maybe from a smaller town or who normally wouldn’t have the exposure to some of these sports and it brings them right into the spotlight,” said Wilson.

The national program is in its eighth year of operation. Wilson said all of this year’s participants were very engaged.

“They all seem very excited and keen. They’re all interested in different sports, which I think is very important in diversifying the pool that we have, and honestly they’re all doing amazing!”

More information about the program can be found online.

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