Tjammie Ko's Olympic dream just got a major boost.
The 18-year-old from Richmond is a standout with Richmond Rugby Football Club, and played for B.C. earlier this year at the Western Canadian Championships. She also plays fastpitch for the Richmond Islanders.
Thanks to the raw potential she demonstrated in front of Olympic talent scouts she’ll now will be a funded ‘Future Olympian’ and training with Rugby Canada’s national development team.
Ko is one of just 30 athletes from across the country, from a variety of sports, to earn funding this year through the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Olympic talent search — RBC Training Ground.
The program gives young Canadian athletes - no matter what sport or activity they are involved in - the chance to test their strength, speed, power and endurance in front of officials from Olympic sports. The program is designed to find and then provide newly discovered talent with the high performance sport resources it needs to achieve their podium dreams.
In 2019 close to 2,000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 participated in 30 local RBC Training Ground events. Top performers at local events were then invited to do sport specific testing. The top 100 prospects were then flown to Calgary for the talent search’s final leg in September. At the final the athletes completed strength, endurance, power and speed benchmark testing to measure the raw abilities required to excel on the Olympic stage for Canada.
Of the 100 athletes at the final, only the top 30 were awarded funding, which can be used in the coming years for things like coaching, transportation, travel, equipment and nutrition, varies for each individual athlete and is administered by the participating national sport organization bringing the athlete into its system. The funding is provided by RBC.
National sport organizations participating in the program include Athletics, Canoe Kayak, Cycling, Freestyle Ski, Rowing, Rugby and Speed Skating.
While Ko was identified by national scouts from a sport she’s already playing, several identified athletes will now be training and competing in a brand new sport. Ryan Gibson, a hockey player from Kingston, Ontario, will now be training with Speed Skating Canada. Mégane Guénette, an artistic gymnast from Saint Jérome, Quebec will now be training with Freestyle Ski Canada. And Skye Pellerin, a long distance runner from Ottawa Ontario, will now be joining MacDonald in Cycling Canada’s Track Cycling program.
Since 2016, RBC has provided $1.3 million in support to 87 different athletes identified through RBC Training Ground.