In its search for Canada’s next Olympic talent, RBC is calling on young athletes to register for the newest season of RBC Training Ground. This year, the program will welcome two new sport partners, visit two new markets and continue its efforts to break down barriers to participating in sport by reaching diverse communities across Canada through 21 free qualifying events.
“What started out in 2016 as an idea to discover the next generation of Team Canada, has since become a cornerstone of Olympic talent development in this country. It’s a testament to the raw athletic skill seen across Canada, and to the program’s ability to break down barriers for young athletes who might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue their Olympic dreams,” said Shannon Cole, vice president, Brand Marketing, RBC. “There is no questioning the power that sport has to unite and inspire communities and we look forward to continue working with our partners to discover Canada’s future Olympians.”
With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games fast approaching, as many as 30 RBC Training Ground graduates are in line for spots on Team Canada. This would mark a milestone for the program after five graduates represented Canada at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games and eight graduates competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Among them include RBC Training Ground alumni Avalon Wasteneys (Gold, Tokyo 2020, Rowing), Pierce LePage (reigning decathlon World Champion), Kelsey Mitchell (Gold, Tokyo 2020, Track Cycling) and Marion Thénault (Bronze, Beijing 2022, Freestyle Skiing).
“With so many wonderful success stories, RBC Training Ground has become an integral program for fostering future Olympic talent,” said Jacqueline Ryan, chief brand and commercial officer, COC and chief executive officer, Canadian Olympic Foundation. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with RBC on this important program as we work together to support Team Canada on the road to Paris 2024 and beyond.”
New markets hosting qualifying events in 2024 include Ontario’s Northern (Sudbury) and Durham (Whitby) regions. Returning markets include Grande Prairie, Alta., Thompson, Man., Winnipeg, Man., Hamilton, ON., and Vancouver, B.C., with the prioritization of diverse and Indigenous communities. The complete schedule of 2024 RBC Training Ground qualifying events is available at RBCTrainingGround.ca.
At these free qualifying events, athletes aged 14-25 compete in speed, strength, power and endurance testing in front of National Sport Organizations (NSO) partners. This year, the program welcomes two new NSO partners, Football (Flag) Canada and Squash Canada, who will be making their Olympic debuts at the LA 2028 Summer Olympic Games. They are joined by several longstanding partners including Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada and Freestyle Canada.
The Top 100 athletes from qualifiers will advance to the National Final and 30 RBC Future Olympians will receive funding and resources to further develop in their sport. Last week, RBC Training Ground announced its 2023 RBC Future Olympians roster.
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. Since its inception in 2016, RBC Training Ground has tested over 14,000 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 are available.