Braedan Willis

The RBC Training Ground program is coming to the University of Victoria on Mar. 17 and will be hosted in CARSA. This nationally-recognized event was created in partnership by CBC, RBC and the Canadian Olympic Committee with the purpose of helping to identify the next generation of Olympic athletes in Canada. The program creators believe that high-performance sport should be accessible to all athletes that have the talent and proper skill set to compete.

Last year two current Vikes athletes had their Olympic dreams accelerated when they took the challenge and but their skills to the test.

Athletes between the ages of 14-25 are invited to attend events that span the country to test their speed, power, strength and endurance in front of officials from multiple different national sport organizations. The program then links these undiscovered athletes with a sport that could excel them onto the podium and provides funding support from RBC.

Current Vikes track runner Vaughn Taylor is in his first year with the Vikes and recently won a silver medal in the 400-m at the Commonwealth Youth Games Nassau in July.

Taylor attended the RBC Training Ground event in Saskatoon in March of 2018. His results reached several elite and developmental benchmarks and caught the eyes of not only Athletics Canada but also those from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and Rugby Canada but ultimately Vaughn decided to stay with track. Vikes first-year rower Haydn Thomas also took part in the identification program.

Last year, the program saw 3,182 athletes participate in RBC Training Ground events across the country. Of those athletes, only 588 were selected for further testing by a national sport organization or invited to a regional final. After that, 30 athletes were announced by the program that they would be awarded funding to help propel them towards their Olympics dream. Taylor and Thomas were named to that prestigious group of up-and-coming athletes in Canada.

Vikes rower Avalon Wastenays won the BC title in 2017 and earned a trip of a life time as a member of Team Canada visiting Pyeongchang, South Korea during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

For both athletes the funding support will help them pay for things like travel, international competitions, coaching and nutrition.

RBC Training Ground has more than 30 events scheduled across Canada in 2019. Visit www.cbc.ca/olympics/traininggroundfor the full event schedule.