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

Pyeongchang Olympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford Police close streets after reports of shots fired

Whatcom Road closed between Old Yale Road and Mountain Drive as APD investigates

Sugar Fairy sweetens someone’s day

Anonymous person gifts local with long-sought sugar

Family medicine still available just different in the age of COVID-19

Local health officials send reminder that doctors are still providing care, by phone or video chat

Signs of support to be posted on grounds of local hospitals

Individuals can purchase signs through program of Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Agassiz skiier wraps up successful season

Van Vliet places high in B.C. competitions

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Walkers, grocery store customers courteous with physical distancing in B.C.

Some cyclists also acknowledge each other and walkers as well on a wide trail

B.C. worker advocate group calls for more sick days, protected medical leave

COVID-19 highlights need for changes to workers legislation: Retail Action Network

Most Read