Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ottawa teenagers star in the new season of TVO’s All-Round Champion

Must read

Ariana Ibit from Orléans is this season’s beach volleyball expert, while Kanata’s Michael Peres will be the expert in teqball.

Article content

Ariana Ibit, a 16-year-old who lives in Orléans, calls herself a super-fan of the TVO show All-Round Champion.

The award-winning half-hour-long series features young athletes like Ariana coming together to learn and compete in each other’s sports with the hope of becoming the titular champion.

Article content

“We loved watching,” says Ariana, which isn’t surprising since her parents are athletic, while she has pursued a range of sports from gymnastics to volleyball to field hockey to curling to touch football to swimming to tennis to track and field. In 2022 and 2023, Arian was named athlete of the year at St. Peter Catholic High School.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Meanwhile, Michael Peres, a 16-year-old who lives in Kanata, had not heard of the show. The Holy Trinity Catholic High School student was too busy focusing on soccer, which he has been playing since he was five or six.

Both teenagers wound up among the cast of athletes appearing in the sixth and latest season of All-Round Champions, which launches Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Ariana says she was in disbelief when she learned last year that her application to appear on the show had been accepted. She is this season’s beach volleyball expert.

Michael was essentially recruited for the show, but not as a soccer star. He quickly became an expert in Teqball, a sport that’s a cross between soccer and table tennis.

The teenagers spent all of last fall making the show, based in Hamilton and Toronto, continuing their schooling online while undergoing their athletic odyssey.

Nine other athletes from as far as Kamloops, B.C., Texas and England were part of the show. Between them, the young athletes covered beach volleyball, teqball, pickleball, roller derby, cricket, synchronized diving, mixed martial arts, canoe sprint, cheer, ice dance and breaking.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Michael says taking part in the show was right up his alley. “I’m really competitive. I like stepping out of my comfort zone… Some of the sports I’ve never heard of before,” he says.

“There’s not much we could prepare for this. We didn’t. It was kind of like a leap of faith,” he continues. “Some sports were extremely fun to compete in and some were extremely not fun to compete in.”

Ariana recalls being very nervous and excited when the show began shooting. But the young athletes “clicked instantly,” she says.

“We lived in a really big house together. We all became best friends really quickly,” she says. “I was surprised at how much I wasn’t homesick. I felt the three months flew by.”

The show is hosted by Canadian Olympian and world-champion hurdler Perdita Felicien, who mentors the young athletes, as do a roster of other sports stars.

Both teenagers plan to take their passion for sports as far as they can. Ariana says she would like to pursue volleyball at the NCAA level and even represent Canada at the Olympics. Michael says he dreams of playing professionally “at the highest level possible, in Europe or North America.”

Advertisement 4

Article content

But the two teenagers have a lot of living to do until then. As well, they’ve begun dating — each other, to be clear — and they try to see each other on weekends. 

“We’ve been together almost six months,” Ariana says. “On the second-last day (of making the show), he asked me to be his girlfriend.”

All-Round Champions season six premières on May 29 at 5 p.m., with new half-hour episodes released weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays with repeats on Sundays at 6 p.m. Watch it on TVOkids YouTube, TVOkids.com, TVOkids smart TV app or on the TVO broadcast channel in Ontario.

phum@postmedia.com

Our website is your destination for up-to-the-minute news, so make sure to bookmark our homepage and sign up for our newsletters so we can keep you informed.

Recommended from Editorial

Article content

Latest article