Vincent Menard, a local archer and athlete photographed on Aug. 22, is one of 100 athletes from across the country, and the only one from Whitehorse, heading to Calgary for the national final of RBC Training Ground. Thirty of the top 100 will receive funding and resources to pursue their Olympic dream as RBC “Future Olympians.” (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

RBC Training Ground targets Yukon archer

Vincent Menard is one of 100 athletes from across Canada heading to Calgary

When 100 of the country’s top athletes gather in Calgary next month, the Yukon won’t be left unrepresented.

Vincent Menard was one of close to 2,000 athletes who participated at 30 RBC Training Ground events held across Canada earlier this summer.

The 18-year-old got the news of his invitation while en route to the 2019 Archery Canada Outdoor Target Nationals.

“I had just stepped out of the plane, I turned on my phone and I got an email,” said Menard. “I could not believe it.”

Menard didn’t really intend to go to the Whitehorse event in the first place. He’d been trying to get a job through a family friend and was simply trying to set up an interview.

“I said, ‘Saturday I’m open. I can meet you somewhere. Where do you want to meet?’” said Menard. “He said, ‘I’m doing this thing called RBC Training Ground and if you want to come, you can register online and you can come over.’”

That conversation, Menard said, happened just two days before the event was scheduled to happen.

He posted some strong results at the event that even surprised him, like a 232-kilogram deadlift.

“I looked at the score and thought 232 pounds — that’s pretty good,” said Menard, adding an official corrected him; he had lifted 232 kg, not 232 pounds.

“I got surprised with that.”

He also did well in the sprint and in the jumps.

Once he left the Canada Games Centre, he was focused on his new job rather than whatever could come from Training Ground.

“The main reason I went over there was for the interview,” said Menard. “So we did the interview, I got the job, I was pretty happy. I pretty much forgot about the RBC Training Ground for the whole summer, until I got the email.”

Menard, who finished fourth in his category at the archery nationals, is set to start a psychology degree at the University of Ottawa this fall and was also accepted into the page program with the House of Commons.

Luckily, his boss has already given him the weekend off to travel to Calgary.

Part of what makes Training Ground unique is the exposure it gives athletes to coaches and officials involved in sports athletes may not be familiar with.

Top athletes can even secure funding and resources as RBC “Future Olympians” with the goal of reaching the Olympic stage.

Menard said he doesn’t see himself finishing at the very top in Calgary, but that he’s not going to pass up an opportunity like this.

“There will be professional coaches, professional athletes there and I can outdo myself by doing what I do best by trying to improve myself,” said Menard. “If they find I have a potential for a certain sport, they can ask me if I want to participate. I’m completely open to try a new sport and try something new.”

No matter what happens, Menard said he has no plans to give up archery.

“I really love it,” said Menard. “I will still shoot archery for sure.”

Asked what sports he thinks he might be a fit for, he said he’s always preferred individual sports but that there are so many options he doesn’t want to rule anything out.

“There are so many sports, so many disciplines,” said Menard. “I’ve tried many sports before. Not a lot have interested me. The ones I really loved were the ones that were individual, the ones I could work on myself. … So if there is a sport that I can find that I would be excelling in and I would love, well, I might as well try it.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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