Huntsville Athlete Wins Olympic Talent Search

Owen McKay Olympic Talent Search
Owen McKay at the RBC Training Ground national final in Ottawa. Photo courtesy of RBC Training Ground

Huntsville’s Owen McKay has been awarded funding and an accelerated path to the Olympics after impressing scouts at RBC Training Ground national final

McKay, a slalom kayaker with the Muskoka Kayak School, was one of more than 1,500 to participate in RBC Training Ground,  an  annual cross-country talent search run in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Today he was announced as one of only 30 to earn funding and a spot on Team Canada through the program.

Athletes from a wide range of sports participated in free RBC Training Ground events across the country, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts from nine different sports to find the sport for which they are most suited.

Earlier this year McKay, 14, recorded first place finishes at international competitions in both C1 and K1 events. His testing results in the program, combined with his aptitude for the sport, earned him one of 100 invitations to the program’s national final that took place in Ottawa on October 22.

His performance at the final earned him RBC Future Olympian status, and an accelerated path to the Olympics.

The complete list of 30 athletes selected for funding is available on the RBC Training ground site

“Some of the athletes who participate in RBC Training Ground are looking to reenergize or boost an Olympic dream in a sport they are already participating in,” said Evan MacInnis, Technical Director, RBC Training Ground. “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.”

Funding is administered by the participating National Sport Organization bringing the athlete into its system, and is used for things like coaching, transportation, travel, equipment, and nutrition. NSO partners include Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada; Canoe Kayak Canada; Cycling Canada Cyclisme; Freestyle Canada, Luge Canada; Rowing Canada Aviron, Rugby Canada; Speed Skating Canada; and Volleyball Canada.

Now in its seventh year, RBC Training Ground is a nation-wide talent identification and athlete-funding program dedicated to finding and supporting the next generation of Canadian Olympians. Since its inception in 2016, the program has tested 12,000 athletes at free local events across Canada with more than 1,600 being identified by NSO partners as having Olympic potential.

The recognition for McKay is significant, as thirteen RBC Training Ground athletes have already competed at two Olympic Games, and together they’ve brought home a collective seven medals. Program alumni Kelsey Mitchell and Marion Thénault are among the medal winners, both of whom had never tried their Olympic sport before showing up at an RBC Training Ground event, only a few years before their Olympic debut.

A new season of RBC Training Ground will be launching in early 2023. Visit for details.


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