Squamish teen BMX star earns 'Future Olympian' funding

Cycling Canada interested in Teigen Pascual's potential for track cycling

As Teigen Pascual's racing season is about to wrap up, the 16-year-old Squamish athlete has something else to celebrate — receiving Future Olympian funding.

This is actually the second year the teen has competed for the funding. Last year, she made it to the finals.

"I was the youngest last year," Pascual told The Chief. "This year, I had a better shot because I was a year older. I knew what to expect."

RBC Training Ground searches the country for potential Olympic talent, across all sports. Through training, they test their capabilities in front of Olympic officials. This year, almost 2,000 athletes between 14 and 25 years of age were chosen to take part in local events. Then, some were invited to do more specific testing. Of those, 100 were invited to Calgary in September to test their strength, endurance, power and speed.

From those 100 athletes, 30 were awarded funding — one of them being Squamish's Pascual. Her mom, Amber Pascual, said Teigen was in the top three.

Pascual would find out she'd been awarded the funding through a video call.

"It was kind of funny. We were home for two weeks after the finals, and some of the RBC Olympians FaceTimed me to tell me," she said. "I was shocked."

The funding, Pascual said, "is giving me a lot more opportunities to go other places to train with other people, better facilities. It opens a lot of doors.

"It's a good step to the Olympics."

When Pascual first started racing, at 5 years old, she knew she wanted to compete in the Olympics one day.

Pascual's season is almost over. She has one more BMX race this month in the U.S. Canadian competitions wrapped up in October.

The last time The Chief caught up with Pascual, she was about to leave for a two-week training camp in Houston. With Team Canada, she trained on the new track — the same one that will be used for next year's Worlds.

Even though Pascual is a BMX racer, Cycling Canada — the group that nominated her for the funding — is interested in her potential for track cycling. Pascual said she'll likely do some track cycling this winter while the other tracks are closed for the season.

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