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LI gym hosts tryouts for chance to be a U.S. Olympian

Athletes paddle to shore near the Olympic rings

Athletes paddle to shore near the Olympic rings after the men's kayak double 1000m heat during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. Photo Credit: AP

If you’ve dreamed of rocking 23 Olympic medals on the cover of Sports Illustrated like Michael Phelps, Saturday could be your lucky day.

The U.S. Olympic Committee and 24 Hour Fitness will host a nationwide tryout day to find contestants for an upcoming NBC Sports television special called “Scouting Camp: The Next Olympic Hopeful.” The show aims to find and mold high-level athletes to represent the United States in four sports: bobsled, skeleton, track cycling and rugby.

Recruiters will evaluate would-be medalists at dozens of 24 Hour Fitness locations across the country Saturday, including at the company’s Valley Stream branch. Applicants do not have to be club members to try out.

Organizers said the four sports were chosen because athletes often transition to them from other sports later in life.

“Many of the athletes that are on those current Olympic teams didn’t discover it until later,” said Victoria Hoe, 24 Hour Fitness’ director of member marketing, who oversees the company’s USOC Partnership. “With the right coaching and training, someone who was maybe a great sprinter in college could transition to this later in life.”

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Olympic hopefuls will perform basic fitness activities, like sprints, squats and vertical jumps, Hoe said.

“Really simple exercises we all did in gym class growing up can show how you’d be as a bobsledder or at rugby,” she said.

From the pool of applicants, organizers will pick 50 men and 50 women to send to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, they will train with Olympic coaches and compete on camera for eight spots, one man and one woman for each sport.

The winners will get the chance to try out for spots on the official U.S. Olympic team for their designated sport. The television special is set to air in August on NBCSN.

Anyone interested can sign up for a tryout spot at 24hourfitness.com/NextOlympicHopeful. The U.S. Olympic Committee is also accepting applications for those unable to make tryouts at TeamUSA.org/NextOlympicHopeful. Registration closes Monday.

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