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RBC Training Ground

Have you ever dreamed about being an Olympian? Now there’s a program that can make your dreams a reality.

RBC Training Ground welcomes athletes of all abilities to participate in a series of standardized tests, with the goal of finding the next members of Team Canada. Since its inception in 2016, RBC Training Ground has enabled National Sport Organization (NSO) partners to test the speed, power, strength and endurance of more than 8,500 athletes – identifying hundreds with Olympic potential.

“What we know of high performance (athletes) is that, generally speaking, they demonstrate high levels of competence in certain physical attributes,” Kurt Innes, former Olympic athlete and the Technical Lead for RBC Training Ground. Innes also works as the director of talent development at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.

“If athletes come through the (RBC Training Ground program) and they give their best effort, we can suggest that (they) may have an opportunity to be successful in a certain sport.”

For example, if you’re a very fast runner, Innes and the RBC Training Ground team may suggest you try a sport like rugby or speed skating — sports where “speed is a very high predictor of potential,” Innes said.

The process is a combination of sport science and common sense, according to Innes, and his hope is that it will streamline the process of identifying potential Canadian Olympians. When he transitioned from Olympic athlete to Olympic coach, Innes noticed some athletes were pigeonholed into a sport that wasn’t necessarily the best fit.

“(Before RBC Training Ground), if you were an athlete who had parents who selected your sport based on a heavy bias... you had a hard time knowing whether you should try other sports, because you just didn't know where you ranked,” Innes said. “What the program tries to do… is give the athletes who want to come in and understand where they lie in speed, power, strength, and endurance a place to access that information.”

Then, folks like Innes pair them with a National Sport Organization that’s best for them. For example, if you are a fast runner and you have experience with contact sports and playing on a team, Innes might pair you with the national rugby team.

“You come through the RBC Training Ground and you demonstrate that you can run really fast, you have very high levels of explosive power in your lower body and you've come through a team sport background. Rugby might be a sport that you want to follow up with,” Innes said. “Those athletes can be singled out and we can help connect them with the team.”

Developed in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Olympic Foundation and with support from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, RBC Training Ground is a nation-wide talent identification and athlete-funding program dedicated to finding and funding Canada's future Olympians. In the past five years more than $1.7M has been provided to 117 RBC Future Olympians to help support their Olympic dreams.

RBC Training Ground is usually hosted in-person, but due to COVID-19, it has moved online for the 2020-2021 season. That means young Canadian athletes from any sports background have access to RBC Training Ground talent scouts in a virtual format.

For more information on RBC Training Ground, and how to participate, visit RBCTrainingGround.ca.