Canadian Olympic Committee and RBC Training Ground launch new testing season with a focus on reaching Indigenous athletes

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) have announced the return of RBC Training Ground with its continued mission to discover Canada’s athletic talent. The programme will host dedicated testing events for Indigenous athletes and will welcome four new sport partners – offering more opportunity for young athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams.

In addition to the 17 free qualifying events for athletes aged 14-25 across the country, RBC Training Ground will host custom testing events for North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) provincial delegations, including Alberta and Saskatchewan, as they prepare for NAIG 2023. These efforts build upon RBC’s sponsorship of NAIG 2023, where more than 5,000 Indigenous athletes, coaches and team staff from over 756 Indigenous Nations will gather in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) to celebrate sport and culture.

“We recognize that Indigenous athletes in Canada experience barriers to participating in sport. We hope that by bringing RBC Training Ground to regional NAIG events, we’re making it easier for Indigenous athletes to chase their Olympic dreams,” said Shannon Cole, Vice President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “We truly believe in the power of sport to unite and inspire our communities, and we look forward to working with new sport partners and communities to continue to develop the next generation of Team Canada.”

“We are pleased to welcome RBC as a major partner of NAIG 2023,” said Brendon Smithson, CEO, NAIG 2023 Host Society. “The Games help Indigenous youth to realize the collective potential of their bodies, minds and spirits. We’re appreciative of RBC’s commitment to help improve the quality of life, and overall health and well-being of Indigenous athletes, individuals and communities.”

RBC Training Ground is an athletic talent identification program dedicated to finding and funding Canada’s future Olympians. Thirteen athletes who were discovered and funded through RBC Training Ground competed at either the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and seven of them became Olympic medallists. Among them are program alumni Jerome Blake (silver medallist in athletics – men’s 4x100m relay), Kelsey Mitchell (gold medallist in track cycling – women’s sprint) and Marion Thénault (bronze medallist in freestyle skiing – mixed team aerials), the latter two of whom did not have experience in their Olympic sport before attending an RBC Training Ground event. RBC Training Ground was developed in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Foundation, with support from the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network.

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