If you told Erin Watchman three years ago that she was now on a fast track to becoming an Olympian, in cycling, she might not believe you. 22-year-old Watchman is one of only 30 athletes in the country who earned RBC Future Olympian funding and a spot with a participating NSO looking for new talent. RBC Training Ground is a Canadian talent identification program dedicated to finding and funding future Olympians.
In 2019 Watchman was a member of Canada’s junior national Weightlifting team. But that changed during the pandemic, when she was looking for a new challenge. She decided to try out the RBC Training Ground Olympic talent virtual testing.
“My dream is to be an athlete, but I didn’t really consider RBC Training Ground until my teammates suggested it,” Watchman said in a release. “I signed up but didn’t submit results until I listened to a podcast where Kelsey Mitchell said something along the lines of ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ if someone applied, so I submitted my tests on the last day.”
There were more than 4,000 athletes between the ages of 14 and 24 in the testing, all coming from a wide range of sports, performing core speed, strength, power and endurance tests.
After the test, her numbers caught the eye of Cycling Canada, who invited her for some sport-specific testing and got her included in the list of ‘top 100’ finalists.
Those 100 athletes then completed sport specific testing. During the RBC Training Ground national final they completed a second round of core testing against high performance benchmarks. Following that, the top 30 were given funding and a multi-year commitment from one of the participating national sport organizations to help make their Olympic dreams a reality.
“Erin came through our sport testing and really loves cycling,” Jenny Trew, NextGen Coach from Cycling Canada, said. “Her testing at the finals on the bike was great at 1361W and 20.56W/kg, significantly exceeding our benchmarks on both metrics. I’m excited to watch Erin proceed through the sport.”
Watchman had some impressive results. Amongst all females at the national final, Watchman had the second best explosive speed test, the third best vertical jump result, and was also top five in standing triple jump. The tests were designed to test explosive speed and power.