Mark Arendz is going to leave it all on the course in Sochi.
The 23-year-old Hartsville native was named Tuesday to the para-Nordic skiing and biathlon team for next month’s Paralympic Games in Russia.
“My goal is three perfect biathlon races,” Arendz said.
“Once I cross the (finish) line I just want to feel there is nothing else that I could have done, and wherever that leads me in the results, that’s where it is.”
Arendz will also compete in three cross-country ski races, two individual and one relay event.
It will be Arendz’s second Olympic experience after competing in Vancouver. He finished seventh in the five-kilometre cross-country, ninth in sprint cross-country, 12th in 10-kilometre cross-country and 16th in the 20-kilometre cross-country.
“Going to Vancouver was a real eye-opening experience,” Arendz said. “I was just so new to everything. I didn’t know what to expect.”
He had only been competing internationally for three years. During the past four seasons, Arendz said, he has become stronger and gained the experience to become a consistent threat on the World Cup tour.
He is the reigning World Cup biathlon champion and the world champion in the 7.5-kilometre biathlon sprint.
Arendz was in Lake Louise, Alta., for Tuesday’s official announcement of the 14-athlete team.
“It’s just an overwhelming sense of pride,” he said. “I know the country is now supporting me and is behind me all the way.”
Arendz was seven-years-old when he was involved in a farm accident that resulted in his left arm being amputated above the elbow. He was an active kid prior to the accident, who aspired to one day compete at the Olympics.
“After my accident only the word changed. It wasn’t the Olympics anymore, it was the Paralympics,” he said.
He saw biathlon during the 2002 Games and he had his brother, Menno, were keen to try it. They joined a local cadet biathlon program and were soon hooked.
“Within a few years I was on the national team and travelling the world,” Arendz said.
Arendz and his teammates are completing a training camp in Lake Louise. They leave Feb. 24 for Italy where they will hold another camp before heading to Sochi on March 4. The opening ceremonies on March 7 and Arendz competes in his first race the next day.
Age – 23.
Hometown – Hartsville.
Sport – Biathlon, cross-country skiing.
The latest – Was named to Canada’s Paralympic Team for Sochi Games in Russia. The Games run from March 7 to 16.
Career highlights – Reigning world champion in 7.5 km biathlon. First overall in 2012-13 World Cup standings. Second overall in 2010-11 and 2011-12 World Cup standings.
Coaches – Robin McKeever and John Jacques.
Did you know? He achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award by the time he turned age 17. He is in human movement studies at the University of Calgary.
Online – www.markarendz.com
Twitter – @markarendz