Aiden Grout has been recognized as an athlete with Olympic potential. (Special to The News)

Aiden Grout has been recognized as an athlete with Olympic potential. (Special to The News)

Pitt Meadows track star shows Olympic potential

Rowing Canada impressed by Aiden Grout during national talent search

Could Pitt Meadows high jumper Aiden Grout soar to great heights as a rower?

Grout has been named a finalist in RBC Training Ground – the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual cross-country talent search.

Over the past several months, more than 4,000 athletes from a wide range of sports participated in the free search, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests. Grout, one of BC’s all-time most successful high jumpers, has been selected as one of this year’s top 100 athletes, and deemed to have Olympic potential. Of these, 30 will be selected to receive funding.

Even though Grout is an elite athlete in track and field, the sport that nominated him for the final was Rowing Canada.

“My biggest goal and future plans are to continue making the national team in athletics, hopefully attending the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and the Olympic games in 2024,” said Grout when accepting his invitation to the final. “But I have seen high level track and field athletes compete at RBC training ground in the past, which made me want to pursue it and see what happens.”

He completed the tests virtually. Not surprisingly, given his height, power and wing span, he caught the eye of Rowing Canada.

“We’re really interested in seeing how Aiden does in some rowing-specific talent identification tests,” said Chuck McDiarmid, Next Gen lead coach, Rowing Canada. “He’s an intriguing athlete.”

The top 100 will now compete in the RBC Training Ground national final, with the chance of being one of 30 athletes to earn funding and a spot on Team Canada, in a sport they might not have considered.

In 2019, Grout won a silver medal in high jump as part of Canada’s U18 national team in Mexico. He also won the BC high school championships in 2019 with a jump of 2.09m. Now at the University of Toronto, Grout, 19, represented Canada at the 2021 under-20 world athletics championships held in Kenya during August.

READ ALSO: With one jump, Grout qualifies for three international competitions

During RBC Training Ground National Final testing, athletes’ speed, power, strength, and endurance will again be tested against sport-specific, high-performance benchmarks. An athlete’s anthropomorphic measurements, sport-specific testing and competitive sport history also play a role in who is selected for funding.

“RBC Training Ground is designed to help fill Canada’s Olympic sport talent pipeline, and provide Next Gen talent with the high-performance sport resources needed to reach podiums,” said Evan MacInnis, technical director, RBC Training Ground. “Some of the athletes who participate in RBC Training Ground are looking to re-energize or boost an Olympic dream in a sport they are participating in, others participate with the hope of being discovered and directed toward an Olympic sport they may have never considered.”

The 30 athletes selected for funding will be announced in early January 2022, following a nationally televised special documentary.

The complete list of 100 finalists is available at RBCTrainingground.ca in the community/news section.

READ ALSO: Ridge Meadows Flames grab a share of first place


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