14-year-old Connor Kautz, an athlete who attends Strathmore High School is in the running to join Team Canada, but in a sport that he’d never considered. Kautz has caught the eye of scouts from Luge Canada at an RBC Training Ground event in March and has now been named one of this year’s finalists.
This year 2,200 athletes (aged 14-25) 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 out what spot that they are most suited for or earn a funding boost in their existing sport based on their raw physical abilities.
The top 100 will now compete in the RBC Training Ground national final on December 2 in Toronto. Thirty athletes from the final will earn funding, a spot-on Team Canada with one of twelve partner National Sport Organizations, and an accelerated path to the Olympics.
Luge Canada Junior National Head Coach, Mike Lane expressed that Connor exhibited very good physical testing scores, so they invited him to a camp where he could try their sport and could see if that raw ability might translate to Luge.
"We were excited to see that he had proficiency in learning all of the Luge skills. He also had the fastest time among all the new athletes in the icehouse and won all of his head-to-head paddling matchups.”
Kautz is a well-rounded athlete as he also competes in track and badminton at Holy Cross Collegiate.
"Getting to attend the RBC Training Ground national final is the greatest moment I’ve had so far as an athlete. I’m really looking forward to flying to Toronto and meeting all of the other athletes. I think it’s going to be a great experience," Kautz said.
During RBC Training Ground National Final testing, athletes’ speed, power, strength, and endurance will again be tested against sport-specific, high-performance benchmarks under supervision of program sport partners. An athlete’s anthropomorphic measurements (height, wingspan, etc.), sport-specific testing (conducted following the qualifier stage) and competitive sport history also play a role in who is selected for funding.
The thirty athletes selected for funding will be announced in early 2024.
RBC Training Ground is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s official cross-country talent search, designed to identify and fund future Olympians. The complete list of 100 finalists is available at RBCTrainingground.ca in the community / news section.
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