Olympic training event pushed the limits of a Carstairs athlete

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STAIRCASE – Rebecca Nielsen, a 17-year-old Grade 12 athlete from Hugh Sutherland School, says her participation as a finalist in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual sports talent scouting program at the RBC Training Ground on October 22 was to both rewarding and very stimulating.

“I worked as hard as I could and that’s what matters,” Nielsen said. “It went well. It was an exciting weekend and I got to meet a lot of nice people and I think the tests went well.

More than 1,500 athletes from a wide range of sports have taken part in free qualifying events in recent months, showing off their skills through tests of speed, strength, power and endurance. The tests were supervised by Olympic talent scouts.

The top 100 athletes, including Nielsen, made it to the national final at the RBC Training Ground in the capital.

Nielsen is primarily a distance runner and basketball player, but now focuses on track cycling.

At the finals in Ottawa, athletes were tested for four different aspects – speed, power, strength and endurance – against sport-specific high performance criteria under the supervision of the program’s sport partners.

“I did some watt-bike testing, which is to see how much power you can produce,” she said. “For the endurance test, we did an assault bike, which uses both arms and legs for power.

“Also for power we did long jump tests and then for speed we did a 40 meter sprint. For strength, we did a mid-thigh isometric pole, which is basically how much you can lift and how long you can hold it for a certain amount of time.

When asked which event challenged her the most, Nielsen said the assault bike was the hardest.

“The assault bike was definitely a challenge,” she said. “It was very difficult and pushed me to my limits. You have to maintain a certain RPM (revolutions per minute) and they continually increase the RPM over a few minutes and you keep going until you can’t maintain that RPM anymore. It’s really difficult.

There were a lot of good opportunities for the athletes to meet Olympians “which was really cool,” she said. “Overall it was a good experience.”

The top 30 athletes in the final will earn funding, a spot on Team Canada and an accelerated path to the Olympics. The winners will be announced during a live broadcast on TSN on December 5.

For her part, Nielsen says she expects to hear the results later this month.

When asked if she thought she had reached the top 30, she replied, “I’m not sure. When I was talking to some of the other people, I felt like I was at the top of the group, but I really have no idea. I am very happy with what I did. »

The RBC Recruitment program is now in its seventh year. So far, more than 12,000 athletes have been tested under the program, of which 1,600 have been identified as having Olympic potential.

Graduates of the program have won a total of seven Olympic medals to date.

An athlete since childhood, Nielsen says she plans to pursue a career in nursing after high school.

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