Eight winners of the second season were announced in November ©Team USA

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has launched the application process for the third season of its talent identification programme, “Milk Life presents, The Next Olympic Hopeful”.

The scheme encourages elite American athletes from all sporting backgrounds to pursue their Olympic ambitions.

USOC states the previous two seasons have showcased some of the top athletes in the country, with three participants having gone on to feature in the national bobsleigh team.

“Team USA’s Next Olympic Hopeful has changed my life and the lives of others in remarkable ways,” said Joshua Williamson, who was selected as bobsleigh’s winner in 2017.

“I’m continually amazed at how this programme discovers and develops such a deep well of talent.

“In the past two years alone, USA Bobsled has added three new members to its national team from Next Olympic Hopeful.

“I think that speaks volumes to the power of this programme to produce the next generation of Olympic athletes.”

Athletes can apply to take part until May 8.

One winner will be invited to join national team camps for each of the six participating sports – bobsleigh, cycling, rowing, rugby, skeleton and weightlifting.

The six winners will be eligible to receive financial, training and medical support.

"We are incredibly excited to begin the process of discovering the newest Next Olympic Hopeful athletes,” said Rick Adams, USOC chief of sport performance.

“This programme has helped identify elite athletes from across the country who might not know about opportunities in Olympic sport, and it has made an immediate impact as we enter its third season.

“There is tremendous athletic potential throughout the country and we look forward to building Team USA’s pipeline of athletes for years to come.”

Athletes are invited to apply through an online portal, where they provide details about their sport experience and complete a pre-screening process.

Individuals can also attend in-person screening sessions at select 24 Hour Fitness locations across the country or take part in the regional events.

In-person screening sessions will take place in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, the New York/New Jersey area, Pearl City, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle on April 13.

Regional try-outs will be held at the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation on April 6 and at Turnstone in Fort Wayne on April 13.

The VELO Center in Los Angeles will hold the final regional event on May 4.

The programme will first narrow the pool of applicants to approximately 50 athletes, split evenly across both genders.

The athletes will be invited to spend several days at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for intensive screening and sport-specific training.

In addition to receiving professional coaching, training and sport science services at the centre, the athletes’ experiences and progress will be highlighted on Team USA social media channels.

The entire programme, including the announcement of the winners, will be featured in the USOC productions documentary in December.

Applications can be made here.