Cole Dempster wins Future Olympian funding

HALTON – Track cyclist Cole Dempster has been selected as one of the winners of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s annual Canada-wide talent search.  

He was chosen by Olympic talent scouts during the RBC Training Ground national final on Dec. 2 and will receive RBC Future Olympian Funding.

Dempster, who lives near Rockwood, told the Advertiser the $7,500 in funding will open up a lot of opportunities.

The Grade 12 Acton District High School student is on an accelerated path to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles and is currently training with Team Canada.

The place on Team Canada is one of the perks of winning the talent search, but Dempster has already been cycling on Canada’s National Team since 2022. At 17, he’s the youngest cyclist ever on Team Canada. 

“Being with them is a huge honour,” Dempster said. 

His teammates include Olympic gold medal winner Kelsey Mitchell, who Dempster said is very encouraging and offers helpful advice.  

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Sports Institute partner with RBC to run the annual Canada-wide talent search, and this year more than 2,200 athletes from 14 to 25 years old participated. Olympic talent scouts from nine different sports assess athletes’ strength, endurance, power and speed. 

Dempster is shown in action at the RBC Training Ground national final on Dec. 2.Photo by Kate Dockeray

“Cole has had a tremendous year on the bike, considering he is only a 17-year-old first-year Junior,” states Cycling Canada coach Tanya Dubincoff in a press release. 

Dubincoff has been working with Dempster since 2022. 

In 2023, Dempster won bronze in the men’s sprint at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships, cycling 200 metres in 9.95 seconds. 

“He’s done so well so quickly that he’s even been granted permission to compete at the Elite National Track Cycling Championship as a second-year junior,”
Dubincoff states. 

“He is an exciting prospect for LA 2028, but still new to the sport and not yet a carded athlete so this funding from RBC will be very helpful,” she notes. 

Though winning the Olympic talent search funding does not guarantee Dempster will qualify for the 2028 Olympics, he said it shows that he is “on the right  track” and is progressing well for his age. 

“A lot of people are saying I’m going to be one of the top in Canada – and possibly the world,” Dempster said. 

Winning the talent search has shown Dempster his Olympic goals are “definitely more of a reality than a dream.” 

Dempster said while he isn’t yet ready to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, he is confident about the progress he can make between now and the LA Olympics. 

The funding will help with this progress by enabling Dempster to compete in more races. 

Cole Dempster was assessed in strength, endurance, power and speed during the RBC Training Ground national final on Dec. 2. Photo by Kate Dockeray

The money doesn’t go directly to Dempster, but is held by Cycling Canada, which dispenses funds for Dempster’s training needs.   

“I’m definitely lacking a lot of experience racing,” which is a common problem for Canadians, Dempster said – “we’re pretty good riders but lack racing experience.” 

He said this is because most races happen in Europe and South America, not North America. 

However, there is a race in Pennsylvania he hopes to attend this year, Dempster noted. He also hopes to travel to Germany this year for a race there. 

It’s possible Dempster could use the funding for better equipment, but he doesn’t expect to need it for that, as he’s already riding an Argon 18 Electron Pro – the model used at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

Dempster’s goal at the 2028 Olympics is to place within the top 10 athletes. He’s also aiming to break the world record for the 200-metre sprint.