Red Deer’s Molly Aellen is a finalist in a prestigious Canadian competition.
Aellen, 19, is a freshman rugby player for the University of Lethbridge and recently participated in the RBC Training Ground, the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual, cross-country talent search.
She was among thousands of athletes from a wide range of sports who participated in free local qualifier events across the country, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts to find the sport for which they are most suited or accelerate their journey in their existing sport.
“Molly’s performance at the RBC Training Ground event in Calgary revealed very good sprint speed and endurance, the kind of athleticism we look for to play Rugby at the next level,” said Jennifer Joyce, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Rugby Canada. “We’re excited about her potential.”
Aellen is among 100 finalists who will now compete in the RBC Training Ground final in Ottawa next month, with the possiblity of being one of 30 athletes to earn funding and a sport on Team Canada with one of nine partner National Sports Organizations, and an accelerated path to the Olympics.
“I am most excited to see the other athletes and their physical capabilities,” said Aellen. “This is such a unique opportunity to accelerate my experience in rugby, but also It will also be great to meet athletes from all kinds of different sports across the country and see how I measure up.”
The 30 athletes selected for funding will be announced following a nationally televised special documentary later this Fall.
During national final testing, athletes will undergo a series of physical testing under the supervision of program sport partners. They will also be measured in anthropomorphic measurements (height, wingspan, etc) and sport-specific tests as well as competitive sport history which plays a role in who is selected for funding.
“RBC Training Ground is designed to help fill Canada’s Olympic sport talent pipeline, and provide Next Gen talent with the high-performance sport resources needed to reach podiums,” 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.”
The RBC Training Program is in its seventh year and since its inception in 2016, has tested 12,000 athletes at free local events across Canada. More than 1,500 athletes have been identified by NSO partners as having Olympic potential.