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Barrie athlete inches closer to Olympic dream with decision tonight

Rian Lenarduzzi among 30 athletes from across Canada who received funding in the RBC Training Ground Olympic talent search

Barrie’s Rian Lenarduzzi has earned the spot to be one of the 30 athletes from across Canada who received funding in the RBC Training Ground Olympic talent search.

The 24-year-old Lenarduzzi could become a member of Team Canada in her chosen sport of rowing. 

The RBC Training Ground Olympic talent search found four of the athletes who medalled for Canada in Tokyo and continues to give hundreds of athletes a shot at their sports goals.

The full list of winners will be unveiled tonight in a documentary about the program on TSN4 at 10 p.m.

More than 4,000 athletes tried out and 100 were selected for finals testing. From there, only 30 were selected for the funding.

RBC Training Ground is a free nation-wide talent identification program dedicated to finding and funding Canada’s future Olympians. Athletes between the ages of 14  and 24, from a wide range of sports, perform core speed, strength, power and endurance tests in front of Olympic talent scouts.

Lenarduzzi began playing volleyball in high school at St. Joan of Arc. She has since recorded top-10 finishes on both the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) international and NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) beach volleyball tours.

BarrieToday spoke to Lenarduzzi in October 2021 where she explained why she took a chance on rowing for her Olympic dreams. 

“I’ve always been naturally strong, particularly having strong legs, and I’ve always loved the water,” she said at the time. “I had nothing to lose. After Rowing Canada saw my test results and reached out I went and tested with them to see if I’d even be suited for the sport.”

Amongst all females at the national final, Lenarduzzi had the third best assault bike result, which measures endurance.

In a statement, technical director for RBC Training Ground Evan MacInnis outlined what the goal is for many in the funding event. 

“While some participants are looking to re-energize or boost an Olympic dream in a sport they are already pursuing, others participate with the hope of being discovered and directed toward an Olympic sport they may have never considered,” said MacInnis. “But they all rely on raw athleticism and determination to attract the attention of our sport partners and are excited to see where this program can take them.”

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.

The complete list of 30 RBC Future Olympians discovered in year six of the program will be available Saturday at RBCTrainingground.ca

Over the past six years, RBC Training Ground has identified more than 1,400 athletes deemed to have Olympic potential... many in a sport they had never considered. 

At the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, eight RBC Training Ground athletes competed and four won medals.

RBC Training Ground participants emerging as Beijing 2022 hopefuls include World Cup gold medallist Marion Thénault (freestyle skiing - aerials), Mike Evelyn (bobsleigh), and Sara Villani (bobsleigh).




Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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