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Hockey icon Sarah Nurse ambassador as Olympic talent search hits Hamilton

Hamilton’s Sarah Nurse believes there’s no greater honour for an athlete than competing for your country on a world stage.

The Canadian pro hockey star, who’s won Olympic gold, says she’s excited to be an ambassador this weekend for the Canadian Olympic Committee’s official talent search, set to hit McMaster University on Saturday.

“It brings me back to when I was just a young kid who had all these hopes and dreams,” Nurse told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.

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“The fact that I’ve been able to go to the highest stage and play at the highest level means so much to me.”

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Nurse, national hockey teammate and Burlington, Ont.-born Renata Fast, and track and field athlete Madeleine Kelly will join RBC’s Training Ground in seeking Olympic hopefuls between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the David Braley Athletic Centre.

The initiative is travelling across the country between now and April searching for athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 that will fuel the Canadian Olympic pipeline.

Aspiring Olympians typically test their skills via different fitness measures on-site with the prospect of being seen by one of 12 partnering national sport organizations, including Boxing Canada, Speed Skating Canada and Cycling Canada.

Nurse says the ascendance of Alberta track cyclist Kelsey Mitchell is an example of Training Ground uncovering gold medal talent –  a 23-year-old who was identified by Training Ground in 2017.

“Then there she is, four years later winning a gold medal at the Olympics. It just shows that it’s never too late to get into sport,” Nurse said.

“I think the fact that RBC is able to put this on and help fund young athletes to really support their dreams is absolutely incredible.”

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The search is the eighth annual cross Canada, which to date has tested more than 12,000 athletes through the first seven years of the program.

Nurse says scholarship, mentorship and skill development opportunities exist with the program and that invaluable connections with peers in sport can also be made.

“So I would just advise, just be fearless, be unapologetically … and don’t be afraid to try new things,” she said.

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