Last year, eight athletes earned a chance to participate in national team training camps at the inaugural “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” a talent transfer and identification program aimed at finding Team USA’s next star athletes in several sports.
The series is back for Season 2, and this time 90 finalists will take part in “Milk Life presents, Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful,” which runs July 27-31 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. These contestants were selected from online and in-person interviews, and they’ll show what they’re made of through a series of tests at the OTC.
Their journey will be presented live on Team USA’s social media channels and will be featured in a two-part documentary that will air on NBCSN and NBC on Nov. 24-25.
Who: 90 Athletes
This select group was chosen from nearly 3,500 applicants and includes 12 athletes who competed in Season 1. Thirty-nine of the finalists are current or former collegiate athletes. During the athletes’ five days in Colorado Springs, they will receive professional coaching, training and medical sport support along with being further evaluated through intensive screening and sport-specific training.
Athletes Recruited By 24 Hour Fitness: 24
These athletes were chosen after attending in-person tryouts at 24 Hour Fitness locations across the country. The fitness professionals at the 11 participating gyms put the athletes through a set of tests to judge their strength, mobility and endurance. Manar Enany is one of the 26 athletes who was accepted through 24 Hour Fitness. The Fairfield, Connecticut, native is set to compete in track and field when she begins her freshman year at Eastern Connecticut State.
“I am compelled to be the best that I can be by pushing myself past a physical barrier to prove that I am capable to do more,” Enany said in her application. “I also take pride in repping my country because of the opportunities it gave my parents and the opportunities that it gave me; opportunities such as this one where I can fulfill my dreams. I am not afraid to put in the extra training and time commitment in order to improve my skills.”
This year, four women and four men will be crowned champions. From there, the winners will be invited to join national team camps, with an opportunity to receive financial, training and medical support. Each winner will be placed in a different sport depending on their skills. The participating sports are bobsled, boxing, canoe/kayak, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton and weightlifting. Bobsled, cycling, rugby and skeleton participated in 2017.
Carlin Isles, a 2016 Olympian in rugby sevens, is back to serve as a mentor along with two-time Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields. Josh Williamson, who won the bobsled competition in Season 1 and has since won five medals on the second-tier North American Cup circuit, will also be at this year’s competition.
Average Age: 24
This year’s contestant pool is similar to season one’s group, which had an average age of 25. The youngest competitor in this year’s field is 15-year-old Kiana Emerson. The Redding, California, native comes in after spending the past two years focused on track and field.
“Being an Olympian and representing my country is one of the best things any athlete can ask for,” Emerson said. “You train and sacrifice and put all you have into your sport and to be recognized and show the world your talent, there isn't anything better!”
Meanwhile, Bliss Davis is back for the second consecutive year and is the oldest competitor at 31 years old.
Tallest Athlete: 6-foot-5
At 6-foot-5, Billy Williams comes in as the tallest competitors at this year’s event. Williams hails from Lafayette, Louisiana. Holly Cuozzo of Rockville, Maryland, comes in as the shortest competitor at 5-feet.
“I have never been the best athlete on any team for which I have played, but I have always been known as the hardest working,” Cuozzo said. “I pride myself on being humble and coachable.”
Miles Traveled: 265,708
From London to Hawaii, and everywhere in between, athletes are coming from far and wide for their chance to train with the country’s best. California leads the way among U.S. states with 15 athletes in this year’s field.
It will be a family affair for Michelle and Rachel Bauer at this year’s Scouting Camp. The Saint Marys, Pennsylvania, natives come in as Division II athletes (both competed in track, and Rachel also played basketball). Michelle is 19 years old while Rachel is 21.
“Olympians get the unique opportunity to compete against the best of the best,” Rachel Bauer said. “They make lifelong friends, training partners and memories. As an Olympian I would be part of this elite group of individuals.”