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Amateur athletes vying to make the cut, pursue Olympic dreams
Published Saturday, February 23, 2019 5:49PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, February 23, 2019 7:04PM CST
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for amateur athletes looking to crack the Canadian Olympic roster.
For one Saskatoon athlete, it’s a chance to achieve his dream.
“I’d like to do bobsledding,” Jace Peters told CTV News.
This weekend RBC’s Training Ground stopped in Saskatoon, searching for a diamond in the rough, holding an Olympic combine at the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre.
Turning heads of Canadian Olympic officials and athletes was 22-year-old Peters. He currently suits up as a defensive back with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team. Peters outlasted his group in the endurance-testing beep drill.
“I really enjoyed this, I didn’t know what to expect but when it came to the beep test you just have to turn off your mind and just run, don’t think of it,” Peters said, adding he probably didn’t have the right gear on for the endurance test.
“My legs were getting sweaty because I was wearing sweats.”
Peters lasted almost 14 beeps and he needed more than a moment to catch his breath after the grueling ordeal. But once he recovered, officials were hot on his tail to get his name.
“They were impressed with an overall athlete. You see a lot of guys that get big at the gym but they lack other aspects, so I feel like I’m a well-rounded individual,” he said.
Impressed with the young man’s performance, Olympic long-distance runner Lanni Marchant said she’s been drawing inspiration from young Canadians during the tryouts.
“There was a kid who absolutely killed the beep test and as he was running he was pulling his sweat pants up to cool off so he definitely has more in the tank,” Marchant said.
Having the chance to share her story with the young guns, Marchant said, while physical and mental concentration is paramount to Olympic success, the greatest challenge came in the sacrifices she had to make to pursue her Olympic dream.
“I was a full-time lawyer and I started running a bit quicker and a bit quicker and I had to decide to give myself a break from the law world to pursue high-end running and high-performance sport,” she said.
“There’s injury sacrifices, money sacrifices, every athlete in Canada puts their heart and soul into it so when you guys are cheering for us at the Olympics know that we are there and we’re the best we can be and we put every part of our body and soul into those performances.”
Top performers at the Training Ground events will qualify for further testing with specific sports. If they succeed at this stage they will receive an invitation to compete at the RBC Training Ground national final where they will compete alongside the top-100 athletes nationwide.
At the national final up to 30 athletes will be selected as RBC Future Olympians and receive funding to pursue their Olympic dreams.