St. John's native Andrew Wood grew up playing basketball before switching to track at university. His story bears resemblance to that of Andre De Grasse, who ran his first race in basketball shorts. He's hoping that he can follow in his footsteps, thanks to the support of RBC Training Ground. Wood was named Atlantic Canada's Top Performer on June 10 at the regional final event hosted at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax.
Wood, 21, hit multiple national benchmarks at the regional final and was the top male for standing long jump and 40m sprint. He has attracted the attention of at least three different national sport organizations (NSO) with his impressive speed and power, qualities that are important to sports like bobsleigh, athletics and rugby.
Wood qualified for the regional final after an outstanding performance at a regional qualifier combine in St. John's in April. At each event athletes are measured for anthropometric (body size and proportion) suitability, and performed speed, power, strength and endurance benchmark tests in front of officials from the COC and 11 national sport organizations.
"Athletics has been a huge part of my life throughout the past few years. I feel amazing right now, I'm shaking a bit. I didn't expect to win, but I'm super proud. I came in to the competition today just wanting to have fun and see what happens."
The journey to the Olympic Games is a long one, and Wood's is just beginning. Within the next few weeks, he'll be contacted by the NSOs who are interested in him and begin sport-specific testing for the sports that identified him as a prospect. As an RBC Training Ground regional champion Wood has earned funding from RBC (up to $10,000 per year, for up to three years, administered by the national sport organization that chooses to work with Wood) to kick-start his Olympic dream.
"I think athletes from Atlantic Canada can be underestimated. I'm so happy to represent St. John's and I'm ready to debunk that myth."
More than 100 athletes from Maritime provinces were invited to the Atlantic Canada regional final. Wood is the first athlete from Newfoundland to win RBC Training Ground and receive funding to support his athletic development through the program.
Photo attached, courtesy RBC Training Ground.
Release supplied by Stellick Marketing Communications.