Search for Canada’s next Olympian returns to Vancouver Island

Search for Canada’s next Olympian returns to Vancouver Island
Photo: RBC Training Ground
The RBC Training Ground is visiting Victoria Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023. In this photo, participants test their might at the previous years trial.

The RBC Training Ground is visiting Vancouver Island in search of Canada’s next top athlete.

Organizers are hosting a free tryout event this Saturday, Feb. 11, at the University of Victoria’s Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) on Garbiola Road.

The program, now in its eighth year, aims to connect athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 that have Olympic potential with the necessary resources to further their training, all the while flagging them to national sports organizations.

Residents from across Vancouver Island are encouraged to come out and put their talents on display for a chance at a sponsorship that could push their abilities to the next level.

“I think it’s great. As a former athlete, I wish this would have been around when I was younger,” said Sam Effah, a two-time Canadian champion in the 100-metre sprint who’s now a spokesperson for the event.

“It’s great for athletes who might not know their strengths, you’ll get tested and see where you land,” Effah added in a phone interview with CHEK News.

To date, seven athletes from the program have gone on to earn a medal in the Olympics, including Campbell River’s own gold-winning-rower Avalon Wasteneys.

RELATED: RBC Training Ground continues search for future Olympians

“Kelsey Mitchell and Marion Thénault are among the medal winners. Neither of them had tried their Olympic sport before showing up at an RBC Training Ground event just a few years before their Olympic debut,” Effah said.

For those already pursuing a sport or simply wanting to show off, a variety of talent scouts will be present to assess the public in four key areas: speed, power, strength and endurance. 

Three bronze-medalist from several of Canada’s Olympic teams will be at the event Saturday to help coach and cheer on attendees, including field hockey player Kate Wright, Rugby player Pamphinette Buisa and bobsledder Christopher Spring.

There will also be several other sports, including boxing, sport climbing, triathlon and wrestling, which have never been represented at the event before.

Local athletes are encouraged to register at, where they can also view the current leaderboards and keep track of their overall standings in the event.

Roger CollinsRoger Collins

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