Taiki Crockett spends hours every day training and competing in gymnastics. He’s reached a high level in the sport.
“There’s no feeling like it. All the flipping and strength. There’s really no way to describe it. It’s amazing,” Crockett said.
The 14-year-old’s hard work has paid off in a way he never expected. The Edmontonian is one of 30 athletes selected for the RBC Training Ground, a program that selects athletes with Olympic potential to receive coaching, training and mentorship in their selected sport.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited for this experience. Only 30 people from across the country can say they’ve been selected for this,” Crockett said.
While Crockett has a passion for gymnasts, his attention is now towards luge as well. It’s the sport he’s been selected to train and compete in through the RBC Training Ground. To his surprise, the physical and mental tools Crockett has developed through gymnasts are a perfect fit for luge.
“Luge has to do with a lot of body control and really specific movements, which gymnastics really helps with because you have to be tight the whole time when you’re going down the luge track,” Crockett said.
Crockett’s selection for the program is not a surprise to his gymnastics coach.
“He’s a top notch young athlete, he has one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen, he’s a great kid, he’s engaged in his gymnastics, he’s accountable for what he does,” Ortona gymnastics coach Daniel Krawchenko said.
Since RBC Training Ground started in 2016, it has had seven athletes go on to win Olympic medals after going through the program. The list includes Edmonton’s Kelsey Mitchell who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Games in track cycling after transitioning from soccer.
“You’re not only finding these athletes, but you’re aligning them with national sports organizations who then, in turn, can look at your strengths and then truly put you on that path,” RBC Training Ground spokesperson Sam Effah said.
Crockett hopes his path leads him to the 2030 Winter Olympics. He knows it won’t be easy, but he is looking forward to embracing his newfound love.
“I’m really excited to be supported by RBC in the future and see where that takes me,” he said.
Since the program started, 10,000 athletes have gone through the RBC Training Ground testing.
RBC Training Ground searches for next Canadian Olympians
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