KAMLOOPS — Speed. Power Strength. Endurance. All four are important traits that many Olympians share. For the young athletes at the RBC Training Ground event held at the TCC on Sunday, showing well in one of those four traits could be their first step down the pathway to Olympic glory.
“We provide that as sort of the baseline. That’s sort of what we determine is their level of giftedness in those four categories,” RBC Training Ground Technical Lead Kurt Innes explained. “Whether or not they become talented in a sport, that’s whether or not that athlete wants to take up that sport, or really focus on becoming one of the best in the world.”
Sunday marked the third time the event has come to Kamloops looking to identify top athletic talent between the ages of 14 and 25. TRU WolfPack varsity soccer player Chantal Gammie missed the event in 2018 but knew she wanted to come to experience the RBC Training Ground this time around.
“Mostly just to see what it was about, or what might come of it,” Gammie told CFJC Today. “Just wanted to come for the experience, I guess.”
The event also brings in top RBC Olympic and Paralympic talent to help connect the athletes with the end goal. On hand Sunday was a pair of Canadian Olympians: cyclist Zach Bell and rower Will Crothers. 2018 Winter Paralympic Silver and Bronze Medallist Emily Young was also in attendance, providing the young athlete's advice and inspiration.
“This is such a great opportunity,” Young said. “I wish I had this opportunity at my age when I was going through this. It’s a hard road to start.”
Young says the chance to show your stuff for talent scouts from a number of different sporting organizations a unique way for these athletes to get a foot in the door.
“A lot of the time you’re… putting in a lot of effort, training, sacrificing your social life, financially, to make this jump for something that potentially is a dead end road,” Young said of the process of pursuing an Olympic dream. “Having an opportunity such as the RBC Training Ground, it’s such a great opportunity to… you’re looking at people who see [your] potential.”
The competition between the athletes in each group can get heated, with each athlete trying to get their name on the leaderboard at each station. The event culminates in the dreaded beep test - a shuttle run that features athletes going head-to-head to be the last one standing once the final beep sounds.
According to organizers, the field of athletes in Kamloops is as good as any they’ve seen throughout BC.
“We’ve already got four athletes that have achieved excellent status on one of the four different tests,” Innes told CFJC Today. “Right away, that’s telling me that within the top 2% of all athletes we’ve ever tested. We’ve got great athletes all over this province and here in Kamloops as well.”
Gammie made it past level 12 on the beep test, which anyone who’s ever done the run knows is a darn respectable score. She also scored well on a number of the other tests, which means she has a good chance to be recognized as one of the top athletes at the Kamloops event and increases the chances she may one day get the opportunity to don the maple leaf at an Olympics.
“That would be amazing,” Gammie said. “It’s every athlete’s dream to go to the Olympics. It’s just kind of nice to step in the door and see what come.”
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April 16th, 2019 by Adam Donnelly