Olympic talent scouts to visit Saskatoon

RBC's Training Ground is holding a talent search for athletes between the ages of 14-25. The program is an effort to find athletes, support them financially, and identify other support they need to reach their full potential.

Young athletes invited to show their desire to reach the podium

Canada's Allison Beveridge, Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Lay and Georgia Simmerling compete in the team pursuit first round at the World Track Cycling championships at the Lee Valley Velopark in London on March 4, 2016. (Tim Ireland/AP)

Saskatchewan athletes will have the chance this weekend to test their abilities and compete for support to possibly achieve the pinnacle of sport competition: participating in the Olympics.

RBC's Training Ground is holding a talent search for athletes between the ages of 14-25 at Prairieland Park on Saturday from 9 a.m. CST until noon. The program is an effort to find athletes, support them financially, and identify other support they need to reach their full potential.

If it's not fun you probably will not see your true potential at what you are doing.- Kirsti  Lay, cyclist

"It really just fuels our next generation of Olympians," said medal-winning cyclist Kirsti Lay.

"We just encourage all athletes to come out … you just never know which sport could be for you."

With more than a dozen national sport organizations taking part — everything from snowboarding to water polo — Lay said that it is important not to go into the testing with pre-conceived notions of what sport you would like to compete in. It's important, she said, to keep an open mind.   

"Sport is full of transferrable skills."

The Canadian team of Allison Beveridge, Kirsti Lay, Jasmin Glaesser, and Georgia Simmerling during their Bronze medal race in Team Pursuit Cycling in Rio on Aug. 13, 2016. (Kevin Light/CBC)

Let Lay's story serve as an example: "I was a national team speed skater," she said.

For eight years speed skating was her passion, until injury ended the run. But Lay's dream did not end at the same time. Her athleticism did not go unnoticed, and she was invited to hang up the skates and climb into the saddle to cycle for Canada.

Lay and her teammates won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"I never anticipated being a summer Olympian, let alone coming home with a medal, so that's pretty cool and it's definitely possible for other athletes," she said.

It's a story that Team Canada would like to see repeated in their talent search in Saskatoon.

Lay's advice? Try to have some fun.

"If it's not fun you probably will not see your true potential at what you are doing. You really have to enjoy your sport and make it something that you love."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning