Young athletes were showing off their abilities in strength, speed, power and endurance to Olympic officials during the RBC Training Ground in Red Deer Sunday.
Calgary’s 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist in Ski Cross, Brady Leman, was at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre motivating and mentoring the athletes from communities across Central Alberta.
“It’s great for people who love sports but maybe haven’t found their home on the competitive side of things,” he said.
During the event, athletes perform speed, power, strength and endurance benchmark tests. The goal of RBC Training Ground is to re-energize goals or get discovered and pointed toward an Olympic sport.
“The numbers that they get out of this can identify different strengths in different areas,” Leman explained.
“The metrics that they use are really important for different sports, like cycling and rowing and speed skating, where they can look at it and say, ‘Yeah this person has some untapped potential if they can push these numbers without a lot of training then if we train them a little bit, they can push that to a world-class number.’”
The program is designed to fill a gap in Canada’s amateur sport system and provide the newly discovered talent with the high-performance sport resources to achieve their athletic dreams.
Leman added, “It opens a lot of doors with different national sport organizations and I’ve seen people come through the program onto different national teams and move really quickly to the world-class level.”
Red Deer cross-country runner Jared Howse said RBC Training Ground allows him to show off his endurance abilities.
“That’s really my strong suit so that’s where I can excel and show what I am capable of,” said the 17-year-old.
Last year, 80 athletes attended the Red Deer event. Twenty-two were discovered to have high-performance potential. Eleven athletes were invited to do sport specific training, according to the RBC Training Ground press release.
Cochrane high school basketball player Morgan Boot received funding in 2018. She is now training to row competitively, a sport she hadn’t considered before, the press release reads.
Last year, Howse said he made it to the finals. It was a good exposure because it puts athletes in front of Olympic and national sports organization officials, he said.
“I’m hoping to do better and make the finals at the next location and just do better than I did last year.”
As far as dreams go, his goal is to make Team Alberta for the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships and eventually qualify for Team Canada in track and field.