Australian cycling officials are leveraging the power of virtual technology to find the next Olympic champions through their new talent identification system. The program will use a virtual game to find cyclists looking to leave a mark on this sport.
In partnership with American cycling and running game operator Zwift, the Australian cycling governing board hopes to discover future champions for Paralympic and Olympic events. This highly accessible program gives potential athletes multiple ways to participate and test their ability through a straightforward workout at home.
With the Zwift indoor cycling system, athletes can also participate in Australia Cycling’s in-person events or set up a testing day for their city or town. As such, the new program will help take Cycling in Australia to the next level, with online sports betting enthusiasts ready to seize the moment by wagering on major cycling events.
The new program targets 16 to 22-year-old athletes without a background in high-performance sports or anyone with prior high-performance experience. According to AusCycling Pathways Director Donna Rae-Szalinski, Australian officials understand that a solid talent pool is essential to the sport’s success on the international stage.
Looking forward to the 2028 and 2032 Paralympic and Olympic games, the Australian cycling governing board wants to build the next generation of leading riders and cyclists. These athletes will have the potential to go the stretch and challenge champions from across the world.
Donna further added that the new talent identification program hopes to identify and boost the talent depth in various disciplines by expanding their search to people who might have never ridden competitively. By virtually testing the candidates, the governing body can tap into the raw talent that might have been previously ignored.
Anyone who wants to test their skills can try a 30-minute remote test on Zwift or a short 7-minute test at an event hub in any AusCycling event. You can test yourself at a pop-up center operated by AusCycling in cities where there’s sufficient demand. Any athlete that hits the benchmarks will go for further testing, with successful candidates getting a development opportunity under AusCycling.
In previous global events, Australian cycling has taken home several Olympic gold medals in the sport. That includes gold performances from BMX freestyle cyclist Logan Martin and track legend Anna Meares. As such, the system will further help to identify and nurture such talents in the future.
According to CEO Marne Fechner, many Olympic champions from Australia have been through the organization’s development programs before achieving their success on the international stage. That said, you can never tell where the next Olympic champions will come from, as with other sports like hockey, gymnastics, or rowing. However, Marne hopes the new virtual talent identification technology can help unearth future stars ready to unlock their full potential.