OTTAWA – When he was a youngster in school, Mark Arendz could not hide his disability. It was at the age of seven that he lost his left arm above the elbow in a farming accident in his native Prince Edward Island.
However there was one way that Arendz could show that missing an arm was not going to be a deterrence in his life.
‘’Sport showed my abilities not my disability.’’
Fast forward several years later, and Mark Arendz was Canada's individual star at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. He won six medals – three in biathlon and three in cross-country skiing with one gold, two silver and three bronze.
The three-time Paralympian was Canada's flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony.
The accolades and honours have been pouring in since his return from South Korea. Most recently he was one of three recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island for 2018, the province’s highest honour accorded to citizens.
‘’I’ve been around the world and I’ve seen what the power of sport can bring,’’ said the 28-year-old. ‘’And with the Paralympic side it’s also brought an understanding of accessibility. It’s easy to say something is accessible but you have to experience it.’’
Sport has been Arendz’s lifeline and he plans to hold onto it for the foreseeable future.
‘’Post career I would like to stay in sport,’’ said the three-time world champion. ‘’I’m a Para nordic athlete representative on the international side so I’ve already put my foot in a little bit.
‘’I’m looking at many options through school which could lead me into coaching, exercise physiology or even the more technical and scientific side in prosthetics.
‘’There’s still a lot to be achieved.’’