Huntsville paddler named Olympic talent search finalist

Owen McKay. Photo courtesy of Owen McKay

Owen McKay of Huntsville was named a finalist in RBC Training Ground, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual cross-country talent search.

Over the past few months, more than 1,500 athletes from a wide range of sports have competed in free local qualifying events across the country, performing tests of speed, strength, power and endurance in front of scouts. of Olympic talent to find the sport they are for. the most suitable or accelerate their progress in their current sport. McKay, who paddles with Muskoka Kayak School, recently returned from international competition where he earned first place in the C1 and K1 events.

The top 100 athletes deemed to have great Olympic potential will now compete in the National Finals at the RBC Training Ground in Ottawa on October 22, with the chance to be one of 30 athletes to earn funding, a spot on Team Canada with one of nine partner NSOs, and an accelerated path to the Olympics.

The athletes will be joined at the national final by RBC Boot Camp alumni and Olympic medalists: Avalon Wasteneys (rowing, gold, Tokyo 2020); Jerome Blake (Athletics, Bronze Tokyo 2020); Kelsey Mitchell (Cycling, Gold, Tokyo 2020); Marion Thénault (Freestyle skiing – jumps, bronze, Beijing 2022); and Pierce LePage (athletics). Olympians Chloé Dufour Lapointe (skiing); Justin Kripps (bobsled); Justine Dufour Lapointe (Skiing); Marie-Philip Poulin (Hockey); Melissa Humana-Parades (Beach Volleyball); Miranda Ayim (basketball); Penny Oleksiak (swimming); and Valérie Maltais (speed skating) will also be on hand to encourage participants.

As part of RBC’s commitment to finding the next generation of Olympic talent, transportation to Ottawa, hotel and food are all included for visiting athletes.

At the RBC Training Ground National Finals tests, athletes’ speed, power, strength and endurance will again be tested against sport-specific high performance criteria under the supervision of the sport partners of the program. An athlete’s anthropomorphic measurements (height, wingspan, etc.), sport-specific testing (performed after the qualifying stage), and competitive sports history also play a role in funding selection.

“RBC Training Ground is designed to help fill Canada’s Olympic sport talent pool and provide next-generation talent with the high-performance sport resources needed to reach the podiums,” said Evan MacInnis, Technical Director, RBC Training Ground. . “Some of the athletes who attend RBC Training Ground are looking to re-energize or ignite an Olympic dream in a sport in which they participate. Others participate in the hope of being discovered and oriented towards an Olympic sport they may never have thought of. But they all rely on raw athleticism to impress our athletic partners and compete for funding.

The 30 athletes selected for funding will be announced following a nationally televised documentary special later this fall.

Funding is administered by the participating National Sport Organization which integrates the athlete into their system and is used for things like training, transportation, travel, equipment and nutrition. NSO partners include Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada; Canoe Kayak Canada; Cycling Canada Cycling; Freestyle Canada, Luge Canada; Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada; Speed ​​Skating Canada; and Volleyball Canada.

The full list of 100 finalists will be posted by September 16 on in the community/news section.

Now in its seventh year, RBC Training Ground is a national talent identification and athlete funding program dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of Canadian Olympians. Since its inception in 2016, the program has tested 12,000 athletes at free local events across Canada, and more than 1,600 have been identified by NSO partners as having Olympic potential.

Thirteen athletes from the RBC Training Ground have competed in two Olympic Games and together won seven team medals. Program alumni Kelsey Mitchell and Marion Thénault are among the medallists, who had never tried their Olympic sport before showing up at an RBC Training Ground event just a few years before their Olympic debut.

A new season of RBC Training Ground will be launched in early 2023. Visit RBC Training for details.


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