USOC Announces Talent Program Winners
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The eight winners from season two of “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful” were announced on the USOC Productions’ two-hour finale Sunday on NBC. The talent-identification program was created by the United States Olympic Committee to increase and enhance the pipeline of world-class athletes pursuing Olympic sport.
Nearly 3,500 athletes from across the country applied online or participated in tryouts hosted exclusively at 24 Hour Fitness clubs and regional tryout locations. From this pool of athletes, 90 were invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to participate in the finalist phase of the program. Following the OTC tryout, the eight winners were invited to join the national team camps for the eight participating sports: bobsled, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby sevens, skeleton and weightlifting. The eight athletes are eligible to receive financial, training and medical support as they work toward representing Team USA and the opportunity of competing at the Olympic Games.
The winning athletes are:
Kayla Caldwell (Tuscarawas, Ohio), weightlifting
Stephanie Grant (Bellflower, Calif.), boxing
Fabian Griffith (Victorville, Calif.), skeleton
Shaye Hatchette (Fort Gibson, Okla.), canoe/kayak
LaDarren Landrum (Spartanburg, S.C.), rowing
Deena Manitu (Charleston, W.V.), cycling
Lindsey Mayo (Gallatin, Tenn.), rugby sevens
Rodriquez Russell (Danville, Va.), bobsled
Two of the winners – Grant and Griffith – were selected from the in-person tryouts hosted by 24 Hour Fitness, an associate sponsor of Next Olympic Hopeful.
“For the second consecutive season, the Next Olympic Hopeful program has identified world-class American athletes with transferable talents that we feel can make an impact at the highest level of sport,” said Alan Ashley, USOC’s chief of sport performance. “We look forward to working alongside our National Governing Body colleagues – who handpicked the eight winners for their respective sport – to further develop these athletes and help them, like all Team USA athletes, achieve their maximum potential.”
“Like current Team USA athletes, those who competed in and were selected for the Next Olympic Hopeful have built themselves into the elite competitors they are today through years of hard work, dedication and the right nutrition,” said Victor Zaborsky, Vice President of Marketing at MilkPEP, the group behind the Milk Life campaign. “We’re proud of the role that milk has played in fueling Team USA – nine out of 10 U.S. Olympians grew up drinking milk – and that it continues to help fuel so many of the athletes competing in the show and the next generation of Olympic hopefuls growing up at home.”
In addition to the eight finalists, 38 athletes from the pool of 90 were extended invites by the participating National Governing Bodies to continue their affiliation with their sport through training opportunities. Sylvia Hoffman (Arlington, Texas) – who won the 2018 National Push Championships in September – and Jessica Davis (Bartlett, Tenn.) were named to the 2018-19 USA Bobsled Women’s National Team. Season one winner of Next Olympic Hopeful in bobsled, Josh Williamson (Lake Mary, Fla.), also earned a spot on the national team. Since winning in 2017, Williamson has captured five medals – including two golds – on the North American Cup circuit and also won the 2018 National Push Championships.
“This program serves an important role in increasing the public’s interest in Olympic sport, which in turn helps strengthen Team USA,” said Scott Riewald, USOC’s senior director of high performance. “These Next Olympic Hopeful winners represent the tremendous athletic potential demonstrated by individuals throughout the country, and we look forward to broadening our reach within the athlete community in the years to come.”
The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will re-air “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful” on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. ET with the finale immediately following at 7 p.m. ET.
For more information on the winners and information on season three of Next Olympic Hopeful, visit TeamUSA.org/ScoutingCamp.
National Governing Body leadership quotes
Darrin Steele, USA Bobsled & Skeleton chief executive officer: “The Next Olympic Hopeful has become a keystone for supporting our efforts in identifying athletes with potential to excel in bobsled or skeleton. We’ve built an Olympic medal-winning program by seeking athletes with specific skills that transfer over to the ice, and we’ve already seen the results from the talent of this search. Last season’s winner, Josh Williamson, and a participant from this season, Sylvia Hoffman, won our national push championships and were named to the national team. These are just two examples of athletes from the program that have made an impact on our team.”
Ross Young, USA Rugby chief executive officer: “We're thrilled to continue our involvement in the Next Olympic Hopeful and provide a unique scouting opportunity to potential rugby Olympians. The success of last year's winners in Devin Short and Kelli Smith – who both went on to represent the United States in developmental competitions – shows this program's ability to foster athlete dreams. As we move closer to Tokyo 2020, this season will undoubtedly see budding athletes rise to the surface.”
Phil Andrews, USA Weightlifting chief executive officer: “USA Weightlifting was honored to be involved in the latest installment of the Next Olympic Hopeful. Our sport celebrates no only strength in body, but also in strength of character. Weightlifting is an inclusive sport and we are thrilled at the opportunity to give a new audience a look inside our community. Thank you to the U.S. Olympic Committee for providing us another platform to help us find the strongest athletes in America.”
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. The USOC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, and serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.
MilkPEP, Washington, D.C., is funded by the nation's milk companies, who are committed to ensuring all children have access to nutrient-rich milk. The MilkPEP Board runs the national Milk Life campaign, a multi-faceted campaign designed to educate consumers about the powerful nutritional benefits of milk – with essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, in each 8-ounce glass. For more information, go to milklife.com.
About 24 Hour Fitness
Celebrating 35 years as an industry leader, 24 Hour Fitness transforms lives every day through fitness. Conveniently located clubs, furnished with a wide variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, are the perfect environment for fitness professionals to deliver dynamic personal and group training programs. GX24® and cycle studios feature a popular array of live studio classes included with membership. A multitude of additional offerings engage and inspire every member to lead a full and healthy life both inside and outside of the club. Opening new clubs on average at the brisk pace of one every few weeks, 24 Hour Fitness is headquartered in San Ramon, California, and serves nearly 4 million members in over 420 clubs nationwide. To learn more about us and to find the club nearest you, visit 24hourfitness.com.
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