The U.S. Paralympics Cycling Talent Identification Camp helps cyclists towards their dream of becoming a Paralympian.
Online Exclusive posted Friday, October 27, 2017 – 2:44pm
By Courtney Verrill
If you have a dream to go to Tokyo in 2020 for the Paralympics, there is a camp held by professionals that can help you chase that dream. The U.S. Paralympic Cycling Talent Identification Camp is here to show you all the steps, help you train and much more.
This year, the camp took place in Colorado Springs, Colo from Oct. 20 through Oct. 24. Out of 75 applicants, 12 were hand-picked by the committee to attend. The application process is a survey that asks about their backgrounds, interest and goals. Once the athlete submits their application, the committee thoroughly reads through each submission and decides together which athletes fit their needs.
“We’re looking for athletes that we might be able to put into our pipeline that would have potential to be international competitors and look towards Tokyo 2020,” says Ian Lawless, High Performance Director for U.S. Paralympic Cycling. “We’re looking for athletes across our different impairment groups and classifications – for example we have the strongest women’s team in the world so we prioritize inviting some women to this camp and really just trying to see across the board in all different classifications where there might be athletes that are not already in our radar who have the talent and the commitment and devotion to be a Paralympian.”
With that being said, having a background in cycling is not necessary to apply. Athletes from many different backgrounds can apply as long as they are driven and passionate.
Throughout the four day camp, athletes participated in time trials, training and workshops.
This year, five professional coaches attended. With only 12 athletes who were picked, the camp is very intimate for the athlete and the coaches. The team of coaches are made up of national team coaches and recently retired Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
“Having these coaches is great for these talent identification camps,” Lawless says. “Having coaches who are able to make that athlete connection and be mentors is a really important component of the program and the athletes who attended the camp really responded well to those coaches.”
Anyone can apply to attend the camp as long as you haven’t attended any years previously. First time applicants will be taken into consideration and reviewed by the committee to see if they meet their needs.