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‘It is easy to crash into the walls’: B.C. teen eyes Olympic status

More than 2,200 young athletes have been a part of the program
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Over 2,200 young athletes have competed for the RBC Training Ground program in 2023. If successful the athletes will become future olympians, hoping to represent Canada in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. (Photo supplied/RBC Training Ground)

Megan Sampson, a 15-year-old rugby player from Langford, has been selected to participate in the RBC Training Ground Top 100, but as a luger.

Sampson said that although the sports are very different, both require massive leg strength.

RBC Training Ground looks at top athletes around Canada and gives them training to represent their country at events like the Olympics.

So far in 2023 more than 2,200 young athletes have been a part of the program, with 12 national sporting organizations looking for Olympic talent.

The young athletes will go from a top 100 position and can advance to the top 30, announced on the week of Dec. 18. They will then be given the status of “Future Olympian.”

Sampson was initially asked to be a part of the Training Ground at the University of Victoria in February but had tried out as a rugby player and luging was never on her radar.

Since February, Sampson has gone to two different luging events, one in Calgary and the other in Toronto, and she said it is the only time in her life that she has ever participated in luging.

“There was a lot of competition because we did all the testing we did in Victoria,” she said. “We did strength, power and endurance.”

Becoming a professional athlete has been something Sampson has wanted since she was young, but she could not try out for the Training Ground as there is an age requirement of 14 years or older.

The challenge for Sampson has been trying to use her upper body more, which she is not sure she can improve, as she will have to balance school work with her athletic dreams and might not be able to do all the training required.

When deciding what sport she would like to become professional at, it can be hard to determine what she wants more, she said.

“Rugby is my first pick because I played it for many years. It is a really fun sport. I feel like it’s kind of a tie.”

She said that luging can be very much like riding a bike and depends on what surface they are on as to how the luger needs to react to the track they are on.

“You just go with it. And then, on ice, you have to try and move with how the ice is going. Because it’s really easy to crash into the walls.”

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