Brady Leman at the podium at World Cup finals on March 17 where he finished second place for ski cross. The 2018 Olympian will be in Red Deer Sunday encouraging local athletes to pursue their athletic dreams. Photo contributed

Search is on for Olympians in central Alberta

Do you have what it takes to reach the Olympics?

This Sunday in Red Deer, sports officials will be looking at central Alberta athletes with the talent that could make them well suited for Olympic competition.

RBC Training Ground will give local athletes a chance to test their strength, speed, power and endurance in front of officials from Olympic sports looking for new talent.

The free, open talent discovery event is for athletes between ages 14 and 25.

The Red Deer event is one of more than 30 such opportunities happening across the country in 2019. Last year, 80 athletes attended the Red Deer event, 22 of which were discovered to have high performance potential. Eleven of those were invited to do sport-specific training.

Calgary resident and 2018 Olympic gold medalist Brady Leman will be on site to motivate and mentor local athletes at the Sunday event at the Gary W. Harris Centre.

The 32-year-old made the switch from alpine to ski cross at age 26. The decision was not an easy one at the time.

“It took me a couple more years to figure it out, but at the end, it ended up being a good fit for me,” said Leman on Wednesday.

In Red Deer, the Olympian will be encouraging athletes to push themselves and open a new door in their athletic career.

“This is a perfect opportunity to give yourself that chance, the tests are easily measurable, to see how you stack up against the best in the world and maybe find a new sport that you may have never considered before,” the athlete said.

The Calgarian said RBC Training Ground provides athletes with a unique opportunity.

The program is designed to help fill a hole in Canada’s amateur sport system and equip athletes with the high-performance sport resources they need to achieve their podium dreams.

“It doesn’t really matter what point of career you’re at. If you can find a sport that suits your skill set, you should take that opportunity,” Leman said.

Top performers at local events will begin further testing, with the potential of being invited to the first-ever RBC Training Ground national final, which will bring together the top 100 high potential athletes discovered at qualifiers across the country.

Based on the national final results (to be held in Calgary) up to 30 high-performing athletes will be selected as RBC Future Olympians and receive funding and resources to pursue their Olympic dreams.

Last year, Cochrane high school basketball player Morgan Boot earned funding and is now training in a sport she’d never considered – rowing.

Talent scouts and officials from national sports organizations including Canada Snowboard, Speed Skating Athletics Canada, Canoe Kayak Canada, Cycling Canada, Rowing Canada, Rugby Canada and Freestyle Ski Canada – all searching for hidden gems and potential cross-over talent – will be present Sunday.

The event starts at 9 a.m. Those interested can register at rbctrainingground.ca.

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