KAWARTHA LAKES-Lindsay’s Ian Jones, 19, has made it to the finals of RBC Training Ground, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual cross-country search for new Olympic talent.
More than 4,000 athletes from a wide range of sports participated in the free search, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests over the past few months.
Jones has been selected as one of this year’s top 100 athletes, deemed to have Olympic potential by at least one of the eight participating Olympic sports. The top 100 will now compete in the RBC Training Ground national final, with the chance of being one of 30 athletes to earn funding and a spot on Team Canada, in a sport they might not have considered.
“Ian’s results in all of the core athletic testing really jumped off the page,” said Evan MacInnis, Technical Director, RBC Training Ground. “He was one of the top five male athletes overall, so he has certainly earned his spot in the top 100. He has played a high level of rugby, but talent scouts from several of our sports took note of his results.”
Jones is currently a member of the Brock University Badgers varsity rugby team, has played provincially with the Ontario Blues, and has participated in Rugby Canada development camps.
“I played Triple AAA hockey as a goalie and was cut from my hometown team in my Bantam Year (14). Instead of dwelling on not making the team, I chose a new sport, Rugby. That was a turning point for me, and I think it has led me to this accomplishment today,” added Jones. ” I love playing rugby and have had much success, and the training I do for my sport really helped me I think with the benchmark tests like speed and power that the Olympic talent scouts look for.”
During RBC Training Ground National Final testing, athletes’ speed, power, strength, and endurance will again be tested against sport-specific, high-performance benchmarks over the course of a few hours under supervision of program sport partners and in individual or small group formats (as local COVID 19 safety protocols allow). An athlete’s anthropomorphic measurements (height, wingspan, etc), sport-specific testing and competitive sport history also play a role in who is selected for funding.
“RBC Training Ground is designed to help fill Canada’s Olympic sport talent pipeline, and provide Next Gen talent with the high-performance sport resources needed to reach podiums,” said Evan MacInnis, Technical Director, RBC Training Ground. “Some of the athletes who participate in RBC Training Ground are looking to reenergize or boost an Olympic dream in a sport they are participating in, others participate with the hope of being discovered and directed toward an Olympic sport they may have never considered.”
The 30 athletes selected for funding will be announced in early January 2022, following a nationally televised special documentary.
The complete list of 100 finalists is available at RBCTrainingground.ca (in the news section)
Funding is administered by the participating National Sport Organization bringing the athlete into its system, and is used for things like coaching, transportation, travel, equipment, and nutrition.
Over the past six years RBC Training Ground has identified more than 1,400 athletes deemed to have Olympic potential (many in a sport they had never considered). At the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, eight RBC Training Ground athletes competed and four won medals: Kelsey Mitchell (a varsity soccer player until discovered by RBC Training Ground in 2017, Gold, Sprint Track Cycling; Avalon Wasteneys, Gold, Rowing; Lauriane Genest, Bronze, Sprint Track Cycling; Jerome Blake, Bronze, 4×100 Athletics).
The following National Sport Organization partners participate in RBC Training Ground to identify athletes: Boxing Canada, Nordic Combined Canada, Ski Jumping Canada, Speed Skating Canada, Freestyle Ski Canada, Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada, Rugby Canada and Canoe Kayak Canada.
A new season of RBC Training Ground will be launching in early 2022. Visit RBCTrainingGround.ca for details.