Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Mark Arendz would love nothing better than to inspire a country when he carries Canada’s flag into Sunday’s closing ceremonies of the Pyeongchang Paralympics.

The 28-year-old biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville, P.E.I., has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang — with one event remaining — and was selected to lead Canada’s most successful winter Paralympic team ever into the stadium when the Games’ curtain comes down.

“The message I want to share is I’m hoping that anyone in Canada can look at the performances this week, not only from myself but the entire nordic team, the entire team Canada here in Pyeongchang and see what is possible,” Arendz said.

“I hope I can be the inspiration at the closing ceremonies that you can achieve anything you set your heart to. You make a dream or goal, and you can achieve it, whether it’s starting from the smallest province or a small town, you can get onto the world stage, you can win Paralympic titles.”

Arendz, who lost his left arm when he toppled into a grain auger at age seven, raced to one gold, one silver, and three bronze in Pyeongchang, competing almost daily in a gruelling schedule of both biathlon and cross-country skiing.

The six-foot-three athlete was presented the flag by teammate Brian McKeever, who carried the flag in the opening ceremonies, and claimed his third gold medal of the Games earlier Saturday. Canadian athletes and family members raised a glass in celebration as Arendz and McKeever draped themselves in the Maple Leaf to pose for pictures.

“Just astonishment,” Arendz said on receiving the flagbearer news. ”I want to say it’s the cherry on top, but it’s so much more.

“To have this honour, it’s a dream to be at the Games even, and now I’m at my third Games, I have a collection of medals, and now the honour to represent all of Canada with the flag at the closing ceremonies.”

Arendz reached the podium in every one of his races, capturing gold in the 15-kilometre biathlon, silver in the 7.5K biathlon, and three bronze medals in the 12.5K biathlon, 1.5K cross-country sprint, and 10K cross-country race.

“Mark has been one of the absolute standout stories of these Paralympic Games for Canada,” said Canada’s chef de mission Todd Nicholson. “He is a phenomenal Canadian, athlete, and person, and we are in awe of his talent and unrelenting dedication.”

Canada had 24 medals with one day remaining, topping the previous best of 19 won in Vancouver in 2010, and crushing the 16 medals from four years ago in Sochi.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Tweedsmuir Park wildfires grow to encompass more than 200,000 hectares

Four fires now managed under one as Tweedsmuir Complex, evacation orders and alerts still in place

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read