RBC Training Ground Kicks off Fifth Year as Canada Prepares for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Three National Sport Organizations join the search for new and undiscovered Team Canada athletes
TORONTO (January 14, 2020) — While Canadian Olympians prepare to take the world’s biggest sporting stage at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, RBC Training Ground will once again be searching the country for the next generation of Olympic talent.
Entering its fifth year, RBC Training Ground is a nation-wide talent identification and athlete-funding program dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of Canadian Olympians. Since its inception in 2016, the program has tested 8,000 athletes at more than 100 free local events across Canada. At each event participants perform speed, strength, power, and endurance benchmark testing in front of National Sport Organizations.
In 2020, RBC Training Ground will hold events on centrally located university campuses in eight provinces, culminating with a national final to be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba and timed with the province’s 150th anniversary. The second-ever national final will bring together the top 100 high-potential athletes from across the country to compete for funding and a spot on one of nine partner sport organizations’ teams. Up to 30 high-performing athletes will be selected as RBC Future Olympians to receive funding, mentorship, and other resources as they pursue their Olympic Games dreams.
Joining the program for the first time ever in 2020 are Ski Jumping Canada, Nordic Combined Ski Canada and Boxing Canada. These sport organizations join long-time program partners Freestyle Canada, Speed Skating Canada, Cycling Canada Cyclisme, Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada, and Canoe Kayak Canada – all looking to identify new talent for development.
Several athletes who were discovered at previous RBC Training Ground events and supported as RBC Future Olympians are now emerging as Tokyo 2020 medal hopefuls. World record-setting track cyclist and Tokyo 2020 medal hopeful Kelsey Mitchell was a university soccer player when she was discovered at an RBC Training Ground event in 2017.
RBC Training Ground was developed in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Olympic Foundation and CBC Sports, with support from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network. As the longest standing corporate partner of Team Canada, RBC has proudly championed the growth of the Olympic Movement since 1947.
- RBC Training Ground is free to attend and open to Canadian athletes between the ages of 14–25;
- In 2020, RBC Training Ground will hold events in eight provinces, culminating with a national final in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 30, 2020;
- Since 2016, RBC Training Ground has tested 8,000 young elite athletes at more than 100 free local events across the country, identifying 800 high-potential athletes. More than $1.7M in funding has been provided to 117 RBC Future Olympians to help support their Olympic dreams;
- Participating 2020 National Sport Organizations include: Ski Jumping Canada, Nordic Combined Ski Canada, Boxing Canada, Freestyle Canada, Speed Skating Canada, Cycling Canada Cyclisme, Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada, and Canoe Kayak Canada;
- Tokyo 2020 hopefuls who have participated in the RBC Training Ground talent search and received RBC Future Olympian funding include Kelsey Mitchell (Cycling), Pierce Lepage (Athletics), Avalon Wasteneys (Rowing) and Alanna Bray-Lougheed (Canoe Kayak).
“At RBC, we are proud to support Canadian Olympic athletes at every stage of their careers. RBC Training Ground is bridging the gap between next-generation talent and Olympic medallists, and we will experience the results first-hand as we cheer on graduates of our program at the 2020 Games. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the COC, COPSIN and CBC Sports for the fifth year of RBC Training Ground to unlock the potential of the next generation of Olympians.”
- Mary DePaoli, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC
“Year five represents an important milestone for the RBC Training Ground program. This is the year that graduates of the program make their Olympic dreams come true. I encourage all participants this year to take their tests to heart as the opportunity to represent Team Canada on the world’s biggest sporting stage can be made a reality.”
- Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer, Canadian Olympic Committee
“CBC Sports is proud to partner on this special initiative which allows us to engage with amazing young Canadians across the country. We look forward to shining a spotlight on recent graduates of the program at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and will continue to share the journeys of RBC Training Ground hopefuls as they strive to achieve their own dreams of reaching the podium, through our digital platforms and weekly broadcast of Road to the Olympic Games.”
- Chris Wilson, Executive Director, Sports & Olympics, CBC
“The most exciting aspect of the RBC Training Ground program is that we are seeing athletes emerging as national and international performers in sports they may never have considered had it not been for the program. Athletes like Kelsey Mitchell (Cycling), Gabby Smith and Avalon Wasteneys (Rowing), and Marion Thenault (Freestyle Skiing) are now demonstrating with evidence that this program can provide athletes with new and exciting opportunities in high performance sport. The strength of collaboration across the nine partner NSOs, and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, has definitely been enhanced through this program, creating a much more aligned sport system in Canada.”
- Kurt Innes,National Technical Lead, COPSI Network
“Ski Jumping Canada and Nordic Combined Ski Canada are thrilled to be part of the RBC Training Ground program as this is an integral development component of identifying much-needed high calibre athletes for our exciting sports. Many opportunities are available for our athletes to advance to the National Team level with higher than average exposure to Olympic qualifications and participation.”
- Todd Stretch,Chairman, Ski Jumping Canada and Nordic Combined Ski Canada
Registration and event information for all local RBC Training Ground events is available at RBCTrainingGround.ca.
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About CBC Sports
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s Olympic Network through 2024 and Canada’s Paralympic Network through 2020. The national public broadcaster is committed to showcasing Canadian and international athletes and sports across all platforms under the CBC Sports and Hockey Night in Canada brands, including on television, online at cbcsports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. CBC Sports prides itself on telling the story of the high-performance athlete’s journey every step of the way, ensuring Canadians always know the people who represent them before they see them atop the podium.
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For more information, please contact:
Josh Su, Specialist, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee