RBC Training Ground was at St. Joseph’s High School searching for future Canadian Olympians.
Over 100 athletes were on hand testing their speed, skill, endurance and power in a variety of tests designed to highlight potential Olympic skills.
“The data shows what someones potential is and a lot of athletes don’t know about all the different sports out there,” Albertan Olympic Bronze-medal winner in cycling Kirsti Lay said. “I started in speedskating and went to cycling because I was recruited by a program like this.”
The top 100 athletes from across the country are then sent to Calgary for further testing and training at the Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) in Calgary.
According to CSI Manager of Performance Services Miranda Sallis, these events have received a huge spike from the Olympic buzz.
“It did help that CBC had some incredible commercials throughout the Olympics that gave a lot of exposure,” she said. “With the Canada Games being in Red Deer, I think this is a great opportunity for these athletes to come out and show what they got.”
With Canada coming off a huge medal count at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, events like these help keep the momentum going forward.
“We just had the best medal count at a Winter Olympic Games and now we are looking forward,” Lay said. “We are going to need those future athletes and I think they are in this gym.”
Sallis added many athletes who are in typical mainstream sports also get the opportunity to be exposed to sports like speedskating or bobsleigh.
“Maybe they will try a sport they never have tried, which is a unique aspect of this,” she added.
After switching from speedskating to cycling, Lay said it is possible for any of these Red Deer and area athletes to compete at the Winter Olympic Games.
“I think it is possible if you have fun, are determined and put yourself out there outside of your comfort zone. Let yourself learn and be taught. That is exactly what these kids are doing,” she said.
Sallis added that individual sports will make contact with these athletes depending on if their skills match what the sport needs
“Athletes will be invited to do sport-specific testing and then sports organizations will be able to pick and choose athletes,” she said. “We are really excited to be in here in Red Deer and we have more events coming across Alberta. If you are interested, go to rbctrainingground.ca.”
Lay added, “I am so happy to be here to encourage the athletes and ensuring they are having fun. I went through a similar process to this. It is inspiring to see other athletes get the same opportunity that I did.”