Update – the recruitment camp has been postponed until September 12 due to wildfire activity resulting in poor air quality in the area.
Joe Cecchini, Olympian in the skeleton event, and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) (named University College of the Cariboo at the time) men’s soccer team alum, will be recruiting new skeleton and bobsleigh athletes this summer.
Although the last thing on most people’s minds right now is winter sports, Whistler Legacy Sports will be in Kamloops with the hopes of recruiting the next Canadian bobsleigh or skeleton Olympic champion.
On July 4 at 12:30 p.m., Cecchini will be measuring participant’s 30 metre sprint, medicine ball throw, and standing long jump on the artificial turf of Hillside Stadium in Kamloops.
Athletes 14 years old and up are eligible to register for the recruitment camp at a cost of $20 per participant. No experience is required.
Successfully recruited athletes who are 15-18 years old in 2024 could have the chance to compete in the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Those who are 18 years or older at the time can join the provincial team with opportunities to work toward the national level.
“We have an amazing program in Whistler and our athletes are learning from world class coaches and former Olympians,” said Cecchini. “Our program starts with the learn to slide novice program and once the athlete has completed the novice program they can advance up the track in our progression camps. We have athletes of all levels from beginners to Olympians sliding in our program and we have been developing athletes at a very accelerated rate.”
Cecchini’s own history with the sport began with watching the Olympics near the end of his soccer career at TRU while he looked to transition into another sport.
“I had never heard of skeleton, until I saw it watching the 2006 Olympics and wish I had found it sooner. The sport has provided me with opportunities I could have only imagined as a kid from a small town in [Trail] B.C.”
Cecchini has since competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games in the Skeleton event as well as numerous World Championships.
As a coach, Cecchini’s goal is to expose as many athletes as possible to the sport and to help it grow in western Canada.