Chilliwack’s Taylor Duffy has been awarded funding and a spot on Cycling Canada’s national team program after he impressed scouts at RBC Training Ground national final in October.
The 20-year-old Duffy, who is a recreational athlete from Chilliwack, was one of more than 1,500 athletes to participate in RBC Training Ground, an annual cross-country search for new Olympic talent run in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee.
On Monday, Duffy was announced as one of only 30 to earn funding and a spot on Team Canada through the program.
Athletes from a wide range of sports participated in free RBC Training Ground events across the country, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts from nine different sports to find the sport for which they are most suited.
Duffy, who is now a student at the University of Manitoba but has minimal experience in elite high-performance sport, caught the eye of scouts from Cycling Canada when he took part in an Edmonton qualifier in April.
After some sport specific testing he was one of 100 athletes invited to the program’s national final that took place in Ottawa on Oct. 22.
His performance at the final earned him RBC Future Olympian status, and an accelerated path to the Olympics.
“Taylor is a hard working and very positive athlete, and his core testing results have been impressive throughout the process,” said Tanya Dubnicoff, advancement camp coach at Cycling Canada. “During a testing session, he apologized as he wanted to reach a higher power. He said ‘I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t go any further my legs were too sore.’ Pushing it to the limit might seem like a small thing, but it’s something we notice. We’re looking forward to working with him.”
The complete list of 30 athletes selected for funding is available on the RBC Training ground website.
“More than half of the 30 winners listed a different sport than the one we selected them for when they first signed up, showing that RBC Training Ground really does not only identify Olympic talent, but matches it with a sport the athlete might never have considered,” 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. But they all rely on raw athleticism to impress our sport partners and compete for funding.”
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. NSO partners include Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada; Canoe Kayak Canada; Cycling Canada Cyclisme; Freestyle Canada, Luge Canada; Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada; Speed Skating Canada; and Volleyball Canada.
Thirteen RBC Training Ground athletes have competed at two Olympic Games, and together they’ve brought home a collective seven medals. Program alumni Kelsey Mitchell and Marion Thénault are among the medal winners, both of whom had never tried their Olympic sport before showing up at an RBC Training Ground event, only a few years before their Olympic debut.
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