The United States Olympic Committee selected the OKC Boathouse Foundation’s National High Performance Center to host one of three regional tryouts for Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful. The tryout in Oklahoma City was held Saturday, May 19, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Devon Boathouse.
The program, supported by USOC partner 24 Hour Fitness, aims to increase and enhance the pipeline of world-class athletes pursuing Olympic sport opportunities in the United States.
Elite athletes of all sports backgrounds were invited to complete five basic athletic tests to see if they had what it takes to transfer their existing talent to the Olympic sports of bobsled, skeleton, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby and weightlifting.
“A focal point of the camp is talent transfer – taking athletes who excel at one sport and redirecting their talents to a new sport where they might find success,” explained OKC Boathouse High Performance Rowing Coach Reilly Dampeer. “Football players, for example, might be able transfer their athleticism to a sport like bobsled, or a swimmer’s endurance to rowing.”
“Next Olympic Hopeful allows us the opportunity to evaluate elite athletes from across the country and then introduce them to an Olympic sport we think they could excel at based on their athletic abilities,” said Scott Riewald, USOC director of high performance. “The program has already made an immediate impact, with two winners from last year’s program – Kyle Plant (bobsled) and Josh Williamson (bobsled) – earning a combined six medals in international competition.”
Athletes attended the Oklahoma City tryout event where they completed compulsory tests, including the 30-meter dash, maximum pull ups, and vertical jump. Additional optional tests included a one-mile run and back squat with weight.
Additional tryouts will be held in Tennessee and Florida as well as in-club tryouts at 24 Hour Fitness locations across the country. A complete list is available at TeamUSA.org/NextOlympicHopeful and 24hourfitness.com.
The program will narrow the pool of applicants across the country to approximately 100 athletes (50 men, 50 women), who will be invited to spend five days at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for intensive screening and sport-specific training.
One winner for each of the eight targeted sports will then be invited to join national team camps in their respective sport. The four men and four women final winners will be eligible to receive financial, training and medical support as they prepare for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games.
In addition to receiving professional coaching, training and sport science services while residing at the OTC, the athletes’ experience and progress will be highlighted on Team USA social channels. The entire program – including the announcement of the winners – will be featured in a two-part documentary: Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful, which will air on NBC and NBCSN in November.
About the OKC Boathouse Foundation
The OKC Boathouse Foundation promotes the use and development of the Oklahoma River in downtown Oklahoma City as a world-class urban aquatic venue. OKCBF provides access to rowing, kayaking, and fitness programs as well as outdoor urban adventures including whitewater rafting, adventure ropes courses, climbing, mountain biking and zip lines. OKCBF programs pursue the highest goals of sports and embrace the principles of the Olympic spirit which inspire athletes to work toward personal excellence, embrace the power of teamwork, and practice respect for all people and the environment.
About the USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the United States Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.