There is just under one month until 86 nations join together for the opening ceremonies of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games. And just like in years past, athletes and sports fans across America are taking interest in some of the Winter Olympics sports that go overlooked.
Team USA is ready for the extra buzz, too.
Every four years, the speed skaters, biathletes, and bobsledders wearing red, white, and blue become household names. And athletes who are watching the Winter games from across all fifty states wonder how they would fare in some of these sports.
And coaches from USA's Olympic teams are especially interested in how those athletes would perform.
That's why the United States Olympic Committee is launching a virtual tryout for talent identification of future national team athletes. The event will launch on GMTM next week and will be open to everyone, regardless of whether or not they have tried the sports before. and includes a number of activities athletes can participate in to help them be discovered by national team coaches and scouts.
Within one event, current high school and college athletes, as well as former athletes, can submit videos and showcase their athleticism and personality for Olympic teams. Regardless of experience, talent-transfer athletes will have a chance to find a new path in an Olympic sport.
Talent-transfer athletes are those who trained and competed to play one sport (like track and field or basketball), but are discovered and trained to compete in a new sport they haven’t tried before (like luge or speed skating).
Jen Bryant, the Associate Director of Sport Performance for the United States Olympic Committee, said that Talent-Transfer athletes are an essential part of the talent identification process for national teams.
With limited exposure to bobsledding, skating, and skiing for a majority of youth athletes across the country, identifying talents and abilities within other sports is an essential part of the recruiting process for most teams.
In fact, the USOC has already discovered a number of talent-transfer athletes through GMTM over the last two years. In the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Digital Combine that the USOC launched in fall of 2020, hundreds of athletes submitted videos hoping to be seen by USABS coaches. Only a small percentage of those athletes had experience on a bobsled track, with most of them coming from other sports like track & field, football, or softball. A handful of them have even been named to the national team roster, despite only taking up the sport twelve months ago.
Within the new virtual tryout, coaches from more winter sports will be able to analyze video submissions and identify the intangibles that Olympic athletes need.
"There is a major potential for talent transfer in Winter sports," Jen Bryant explained in an interview with GMTM last year. Bryant, who works with a number of different USOC coaching staffs, said that the right type of athlete, despite their background or experience, can make an impression faster than in other major sports.
And with a completely free virtual Olympic tryout that athletes can submit to from home, school, or their local gym, that talent discovery can happen faster than ever.
"The use of a virtual platform has been super powerful," explained Bryant about the new event on GMTM, "allowing athletes from everywhere to be seen by Team USA almost immediately." Bryant continued saying that the virtual tryout will certainly lead to all types of athletes - of all ages - being discovered by national team coaches just like the USABS combine a year ago.
For those that have the dream of competing for their country on the biggest stage, more details on the upcoming Virtual Tryout will be shared by GMTM and the USOC in the coming weeks.