Biathlon P.E.I. president hoping many Islanders will greet him at the airport
© Photo Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee
Canadian Biathlete Mark Arendz celebrates his silver medal win in the 7.5-km standing event at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia.
An Island Paralympian, who won two medals in Sochi, Russia, is coming home Tuesday.
Mark Arendz is scheduled to arrive at the Charlottetown Airport at 7:49 p.m.
“It’s always a wonderful experience to have Mark back on the Island,” said Biathlon P.E.I. president Connie MacKinnon. “He comes back and he shares his stories and he shows us his medals. He’s always so willing to share those experiences and stories with us.”
The 24-year-old Hartsville native won silver in the 7.5-kilometre biathlon and bronze in the 12.5-kilometre biathlon at the Paralympics in March.
He was awarded the senior male athlete of the year, Lieutenant Governor’s and Bill Halpenny awards during the Sport P.E.I. awards banquet earlier this month.
MacKinnon is hopeful as many people as possible come out to welcome him home.
“We’re just so proud of him,” she said. “This is where he started from and he . . . doesn’t keep that a secret.”
Following Sochi, Arendz received warm welcomes with the Paralympic team in Toronto and Calgary. He returned back to Canmore, Alta., where he trains, for a couple of weeks before going to Nicaragua with SchoolBOX to help build a school.
“That’s just the kind of guy Mark is,” MacKinnon said. “If there’s things to be done, or
things that he feels he wants
to be part of, he doesn’t let anything hold him back.”
Back in Alberta he was able to spend a few days getting over the jet lag before doing some media tours and attending a Calgary Flames game, where people lined up to have their photo taken with him and get his autograph.
“It is not until you come home that you realize the power of a medal,” he wrote on his website (www.markarendz.com). “The pride in everyone for an athlete wearing a medal and their journey to earn that medal.”
MacKinnon, who has known Arendz for about seven years, said the two-time Paralympian has changed.
“He’s just Mark,” she said. “He’s just a very down-to-earth guy and his success certainly hasn’t gone to his head.”