Hundreds of young, local athletes put it all on the line Saturday during the Olympic talent search in Calgary.
Rower Griffin Salmon was one of 200 athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 who showcased their athletic abilities at the RBC Training Grounds, hoping to get noticed.
Salmon is hoping to rank in the top 100.
“It is nerve-wracking, but I feel like that’s good. You get the extra adrenaline that helps you go faster, but it is for my future, so you know, I’m ready to do it,” he said.
The program is aimed at testing athletes on their speed, agility, power and endurance. Their final scores have the potential to get them scouted as future Canadian Olympians, a dream that runner Jean Funnel shares with many others.
“It would be crazy for that to fit into my life and be able to have that opportunity — something I would have never expected, but being here could give you that chance,” she said.
While Funnel has her sights set on track-and-field, her athletic skills could get her noticed for other Olympic sports like luge, rowing or even cycling.
Rugby Canada scout Simon Chi says he already has his eye on a few athletes.
“Ideally, you also want to look at the numbers to see if they align with what you’re seeing,” said Chi, who’s been taking notes on athletes he plans to follow up with later.
While the event is full of aspiring Olympians, some who have competed in the games before were also in attendance.
Haley Daniels, who competed in whitewater rafting during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, knows what it takes to reach the highest level of athletic competition.
“I think a lot of these kids… they want it. They want to get to that high level. They want to get to that sport and I think if they can both push themselves and support each other, then the sky’s the limit,” Daniels said.
Tri-athlete Matteo Laratta echoed Daniels’ sentiment as he tried to catch his breath after outlasting everyone in the beep test.
“I aim to put my best foot forward and I hope that someone says, hey, this guys’ got some potential, and they want to take me on and I’d love the support. Anything counts.”
The RBC Training Grounds program will be back in Alberta on April 1, in Edmonton.
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