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Talent scouts arrive in Edmonton looking for future Olympians

The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are just a few months away, but scouts are already searching for new talent for the years to come. It all starts with finding young athletes willing to train.

Young athletes from the capital region put their skills to the test Saturday at the RBC Training Ground. The program is a talent identification and athlete funding program designed to find future Olympians.

Saturday’s event was held at the Kinsmen Sports Center.

“This is uncovering individuals’ strengths, utilizing them, and helping them find and discover what sport they can excel at,” said Amanda Rummery, an RBC Olympian.

Athletes aged 14 to 25 tested their speed, strength, power and endurance with four different exercises.

“They do a 20-metre sprint, they do a mid-thigh test pull, they do a vertical jump and they end it all off with the lovely beep test,” Rummery said.

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The ‘beep test’ is where young athlete Kian Kyars excelled. He says the event felt a lot like a professional sports combine and with his background, he wanted to give it a shot.

“I think it’s cool because they’re scouting people from all over the country to have a chance to potentially participate in the Olympics. Everybody’s given a chance, there’s no gatekeeping or anything, and anybody who signs up, can come,” Kyars said.

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The RBC Training Ground program has found and funded 13 Olympians and seven Canadian Olympic medalists.

It helps competitors get involved with sports they may have not considered, such as luge.

“Our sport is actually pretty niche however we’re looking to get more people into our program. An opportunity for us to go somewhere with a bunch of athletes who are interested in trying new sports is a perfect landing spot for us,” said Mike Lane with Luge Canada.

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“Luge is a very skill-based sport. It’s not something you’re going to learn in the weight room or on the field, you have to develop those abilities on the track in the sled.”

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14-year-old Sutten Marsh is one of more than 200 athletes who competed Saturday. Although she enjoys soccer, she says this might broaden her horizons.

“I just thought that I could try something new and see if maybe there’s another sport that I could be better at, than one of my regular sports I usually play,” Marsh said.

Saturday’s event in Edmonton was one of many set to be held throughout Canada this year. In Alberta, there are two more events this year, one on May 6th in Grande Prairie and the other May 11th in Calgary.

Rummery says the event can open many doors for young athletes in the country.

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“The one piece of advice I would give to athletes is that when I got involved in track and field I was 20 years old. I had never done track and field before, so you’re truly never too old to try something new,” said Rummery.

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