RBC Training Ground launches new testing season with a focus on reaching Indigenous athletes
In 2023, the program welcomes four new sport partners and expands its reach to Indigenous communities
TORONTO (January 10, 2023) – Today, RBC and the Canadian Olympic Committee announce the return of RBC Training Ground with its continued mission to discover Canada’s athletic talent. The program will host dedicated testing events for Indigenous athletes and will welcome four new sport partners – offering more opportunity for young athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams.
In addition to the 17 free qualifying events for athletes aged 14-25 across the country, RBC Training Ground will host custom testing events for North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) provincial delegations, including Alberta and Saskatchewan, as they prepare for NAIG 2023. These efforts build upon RBC’s sponsorship of NAIG 2023, where more than 5,000 Indigenous athletes, coaches and team staff from over 756 Indigenous Nations will gather in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) to celebrate sport and culture.
“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.”
“We are pleased to welcome RBC as a major partner of NAIG 2023,” said Brendon Smithson, CEO, NAIG 2023 Host Society. “The Games help Indigenous youth to realize the collective potential of their bodies, minds and spirits. We’re appreciative of RBC’s commitment to help improve the quality of life, and overall health and well-being of Indigenous athletes, individuals and communities.”
RBC Training Ground is an athletic talent identification program dedicated to finding and funding Canada’s future Olympians. Thirteen athletes who were discovered and funded through RBC Training Ground competed at either the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and seven of them became Olympic medallists. Among them are program alumni Jerome Blake (silver medallist in athletics – men’s 4x100m relay), 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 was developed in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Foundation, with support from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network.
”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. It’s important that more athletes from Indigenous communities get the opportunity to compete on the national and international stage, and we’re looking forward to watching this next generation of athletes pursue their Olympic dreams.”
“We’re incredibly proud to work with partners like RBC who so intrinsically share our Olympic values,” said Jacqueline Ryan, Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Foundation. “By extending the RBC Training Ground opportunity to more Indigenous communities across the country, it’s proof that our partners are equally committed to the Team Canada Impact Agenda goal of making sport inclusive and barrier-free so more young people can play and stay in sport. We can’t wait to kick off another year of this inspiring program!”
At each qualifying event this year, participants will perform speed, strength, power and endurance benchmark testing in front of National Sport Organizations (NSO) partners. New NSO partners Boxing Canada, Climbing Escalade Canada, Triathlon Canada and Wrestling Canada Lutte join longstanding partners Canoe Kayak Canada, Cycling Canada, Freestyle Canada, Luge Canada, Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada, Speed Skating Canada and Volleyball Canada to discover athletes who have potential to train with their national teams. Following the RBC Training Ground 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.
Since its inception in 2016, RBC Training Ground has tested more than 12,000 athletes across Canada, with more than 1,600 athletes being identified by NSOs as having Olympic potential – many in a sport they had never considered.
Registration and the most up-to-date event information for all local RBC Training Ground events is available at RBCTrainingGround.ca.
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About the Canadian Olympic Committee
The Canadian Olympic Committee believes sport has the power to transform Canada. Through the Team Canada Impact Agenda and together with our partners, the COC is committed to making sport safe, inclusive and barrier-free so more young people can play and stay in sport. Learn more at olympic.ca.
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Senior Manager, Public Relations
Canadian Olympic Committee
Senior Manager, Brand Communications