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a male Para Nordic skier

Mark Arendz

Nordic Skiing
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Mark Arendz had a promising start to the season. The Canadian won gold in the men’s cross-country middle distance standing at the World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland. He also claimed two silvers and one bronze in biathlon.

It was his return to competition after a superb performance at PyeongChang 2018, where he became the first Canadian to win six medals overall at a single edition of the Winter Paralympics.

Arendz won his maiden Winter Paralympic title in the biathlon long distance. The Nordic skier went on to seal silver in the biathlon sprint and cross-country mixed relay; and bronze in the biathlon middle distance, and cross-country middle distance and sprint races.

Before that, Arendz celebrated two golds, one silver and one bronze at Finsterau 2017, his best performance at a World Championships. He was the fastest in both the biathlon middle distance and sprint events.

He also finished second in the 2016-2017 Biathlon World Cup overall rankings.

Arendz has competed at two other Paralympic Winter Games: Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, where he won one silver and one bronze in biathlon. He was also named 2014 Senior Male Athlete of the Year in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

He first tried skiing at age five. Two years later, he was involved in a farm accident which resulted in the amputation of his left arm above the elbow. He was attempting to put corn into a corn auger and lost his balance.

Arendz still continued practising the sport, even taking part in able-bodied skiing competitions. After watching the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympic Games, he became especially interested in biathlon.

He developed a deep sense of community after neighbouring farmers, friends and strangers from his hometown helped his family while he was recovering from the amputation of his arm following his accident.

"After my accident, I quickly witnessed how a community comes together through a traumatic time. Since then I have always been driven to give back to that community.”

In 2014 he worked with charitable organisation SchoolBOX in Nicaragua, where he helped build a school for a community that had been affected by a landslide.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
LW6

Further personal information

Residence
Canmore, AB, CAN
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Human Movement Studies - University of Calgary: Canada

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried skiing at age five, and in 2003 he began competing with the use of a ski prosthetic in able-bodied competitions.
Why this sport?
He became interested in biathlon after watching the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He liked the challenge of balancing endurance and power, precision and adaptation in the same race. "It is a sport where on the rare occasion you can triumph with an excellent performance in one or the other, but usually, you need to perform both on the tracks and the range to succeed. Though I know I may never achieve it, I wake up each morning excited to attempt to achieve the perfect biathlon race."
Club / Team
Rocky Mountain Racers: Canada
Name of coach
Robin McKeever [national], CAN; John Jaques

General interest

Hero / Idol
Canadian runner Terry Fox. "His attitude to not give up no matter what obstacles stood in his way can only be described as heroic. He took a great tragedy of losing his leg and changed the world." (canadianathletesnow.ca, 15 Aug 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you want to kick the tiger in his ass you'd better have a plan for dealing with his teeth." [Tom Clancy] (canadianathletesnow.ca, 15 Aug 2013)
Awards and honours
He was named Senior Male Athlete of the Year for 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Prince Edward Island, Canada. (markarendz.ca, 17 Dec 2020; paralympic.ca, 31 Dec 2019; portpei.pe.ca, 09 Feb 2015, 11 Apr 2014)

He was named 2018 Male Athlete of the Year by Biathlon Canada. (markarendz.ca, 17 Dec 2020)

In 2018 he received the Order of Prince Edward Island in Canada. (paralympic.org, 06 Dec 2018; assembly.pe.ca, 01 Oct 2018)

In 2014 a ski trail in Brookvale, PE, Canada, was renamed 'Mark's A2Z Trail' in his honour. In 2018 the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale was also named after him. (paralympic.org, 06 Dec 2018; theguardian.pe.ca, 19 Dec 2014; cbc.ca, 19 Dec 2014)

He was named Best Male Athlete of the Year by the Canadian Paralympic Committee in 2018. (newswire.ca, 30 Oct 2018)

He was Canada's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (cbc.ca, 03 Jun 2018)

He was named 2013 Open Male Athlete of the Year in Alberta, Canada. (cccski.com, 09 Apr 2014)
Other sports
He competed in both biathlon and cross-country skiing at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018. (SportsDeskOnline, 30 Dec 2020)
Milestones
He became the first Canadian athlete to win six medals at a single edition of the Paralympic Winter Games, when he claimed one gold, two silver and three bronze medals in biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. (cbc.ca, 03 Jun 2018, 18 Mar 2018; dailyhive.com, 19 Mar 2018)
Famous relatives
His younger brother Menno has competed in biathlon and triathlon at the Canada Games. He also represented Canada in biathlon at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Obertilliach, Austria. (rockymountainracers.com, 20 May 2015; theguardian.pe.ca, 03 May 2014; SportsDeskOnline, 30 Dec 2020)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (cbc.ca, 03 Jun 2018)
Impairment
At age seven he was involved in a farm accident which resulted in the amputation of his left arm above the elbow. He was attempting to put corn into a corn auger and lost his balance. "I shot my arms forward, my arm got stuck between the blades. Within a second it had my arm up to the shoulder." (intaward.org, 19 Nov 2012; cccski.com, 14 Mar 2010)
Other information
COMMUNITY SUPPORT
He says he is particularly grateful to the neighbouring farmers, friends and strangers in his hometown of Hartsville, PE, Canada, who helped his family while he was recovering from the amputation of his arm. "After my accident, I quickly witnessed how a community comes together through a traumatic time. Since then I have always been driven to give back to that community. More recently I understood that the pride I give the community for my success is one of the greatest things I can pass along. To return home and share my experiences and the Paralympic medals is something special. It is one of the reasons I enjoy what I do." (paralympic.org, 06 Dec 2018; theguardian.pe.ca, 06 Jul 2018)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He has been an athlete representative for AthletesCAN, and he has served as a member of the executive board of the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. "Once I heard that PEI was awarded the Games, I wanted to be a part of that. And when the opportunity arose to do so I leapt towards it." (markarendz.ca, 19 Feb 2020; athletescan.com, 01 Apr 2018)

CHARITY WORK
In 2014 he worked with charitable organisation SchoolBOX in Nicaragua, where he helped build a school for a community that had been affected by a landslide. He has also been an ambassador for non-profit organisations KidSport and The War Amps in Canada. (theguardian.pe.ca, 03 May 2014, 06 Jul 2018)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 12.5 km Individual Standing Final Round 16
Men's 3 km Pursuit Standing Qualification 7
Men's 3 km Pursuit Standing Final Round 7
Men's 1x4 / 2x5 km Relay Open Final Round 7
Men's 20 km Standing Final Round 9999
Men's 1 km Sprint Standing Qualification 9
Men's 10 km Standing Final Round 12
IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships Solleftea (Solleftea, Sweden)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Sprint - Classic Standing Final 2013-02-25 12
Men's Short Distance Standing Final 2013-02-28 1
Men's Middle Distance Standing Final 2013-03-01 3
Men's Long Distance Standing Final 2013-03-03 3
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 7.5 km Standing Final Round 2014-03-08 2
Men's 12.5 km Standing Final Round 2014-03-11 3
Men's 15 km Standing Final Round 2014-03-14 11
Men's 10 km Standing Final Round 2014-03-16 11
2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships Cable (Cable, United States of America)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Short Distance Standing Race 1 2015-01-24 6
Men's Middle Distance Standing Race 1 2015-01-27 5
Men's Long Distance Standing Race 1 2015-01-30 11
Men's Middle Distance - Classic Standing Race 1 2015-01-31 4
Mixed Relay Final 2015-02-01 4
2017 IPC Nordic skiing World Championships Finsterau, GER (Finsterau, Germany)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Middle Distance Standing Final 2017-02-11 1
Men's Long Distance Standing Final 2017-02-14 2
Open Relay Final 2017-02-15 3
Men's Long Distance - Classic Standing Final 2017-02-16 5
Men's Sprint Standing Final 2017-02-18 1
Men's Middle Distance - Free Style Standing Final 2017-02-19 3
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 7.5km Standing Final 2018-03-10 2
Men's 12.5km Standing Final 2018-03-13 3
Men's 1.5km Sprint Classic Standing Final 2018-03-14 3
Men's 15km Standing Final 2018-03-16 1
Men's 10km Classic Standing Final 2018-03-17 3
4x2.5km Mixed Relay Final 2018-03-18 2
Prince George 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships (Prince George, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Middle Distance Standing Final 2019-02-16 3
Men's Middle Distance - Free Style Standing Final 2019-02-17 2
Men's Sprint Standing Final 2019-02-20 3
Men's Long Distance Standing Final 2019-02-21 2
Mixed Relay Final 2019-02-23 2
Men's Long Distance - Classic Standing Final 2019-02-24 2