TORONTO — RBC Training Ground is back for an 8th season, and has grown to include four new National Sport Organization partners.
Developed in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Foundation, and with support from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, RBC Training Ground is a nation-wide talent identification program dedicated to finding and funding Canada’s future Olympians.
New NSO partners Triathlon Canada, Boxing Canada, Climbing Escalade Canada, and Wrestling Canada Lutte join longstanding partners like Cycling Canada and Rowing Canada to discover athletes for their national teams.
“The search is on to recruit Canada’s next Olympic and Paralympic triathlon heroes to build our pool athletes who will help continued our tradition of excellence well into the future,” said Phil Dunne, high-performance director, Triathlon Canada. “RBC Training Ground provides us another opportunity in our national recruitment strategy to attract new athletes who have reached their limits while competing at an elite level in a sport other than triathlon (ie. running, cycling, swimming). We look forward to working with RBC Training Ground to identify athletes and help them build on their high-performance foundation, maximize their potential in the triathlon development pathway.”
At each qualifying event, participants from a wide range of sport backgrounds perform speed, strength, power, and endurance benchmark testing in front of National Sport Organizations (NSO) partners. Following the National Final later this year where 100 hopefuls will compete, the top 30 athletes will be selected as RBC Future Olympians to receive funding, mentorship, and other resources to pursue their Olympic dreams.
“While some participants are looking to re-energize or boost an Olympic dream in a sport they are already pursuing, others participate with the hope of being discovered and directed toward an Olympic sport they may have never considered,” said Evan MacInnis, Technical Director for RBC Training Ground. “But they all rely on raw athleticism and determination to attract the attention of our sport partners and are excited to see where this program can take them.”
In addition to the 17 free qualifying events, in 2023 RBC Training Ground will also host custom testing events for North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) provincial delegations, including Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Quebec, as they prepare for NAIG 2023.
“We recognize that Indigenous athletes in Canada experience barriers to participating in sport. We hope that by bringing RBC Training Ground to regional NAIG events, we’re making it easier for Indigenous athletes to chase their Olympic dreams,” said Shannon Cole, Vice President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “We truly believe in the power of sport to unite and inspire our communities, and we look forward to working with new sport partners and communities to continue to develop the next generation of Team Canada.”
Since its inception in 2016, RBC Training Ground has tested 12,000 athletes across Canada, with more than 1,600 athletes being identified by National Sport Organizations as having Olympic potential – many in a sport they had never considered. The list of National Sport Organization program partners in 2023 is available here. Registration and the most up-to-date event information for all local RBC Training Ground events is available at RBCTrainingGround.ca.
Thirteen athletes who were discovered and funded through RBC Training Ground have competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, bringing home a collective seven medals. Among them are program alumni Jerome Blake (Silver Medallist in Athletics – Relay 4x100m), Kelsey Mitchell (Gold Medallist in Track Cycling – Women’s Sprint) and Marion Thénault (Bronze Medallist in Freestyle Skiing – Mixed Team Aerials), the latter two of whom did not have experience in their Olympic sport before attending an RBC Training Ground event.
”RBC Training Ground has proven to be a valuable incubator for Team Canada,” said Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “Alongside our sport partners, we are so proud to be part of this incredible program.”