Mark Arendz heads to Para biathlon worlds undefeated in the event this season

Canadian Paralympic Committee

February 27, 2024

Veteran racer shooting for gold

Mark Arendz

CANMORE, Alta. – Twelve-time Paralympic Winter Games medallist Mark Arendz has served notice he is the one to beat in the men’s standing events at the inaugural Para biathlon world championships set for March 5-10 at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club in Prince George, B.C.

With weather in Europe wreaking havoc on the schedule, there have been only two World Cups this winter. The World Cup Final will follow the biathlon worlds March 13-17 at the same venue with more biathlon as well as cross country races.

At a World Cup earlier this month in Italy, Arendz swept gold in the 7.5 kilometre, 10 kilometre, and sprint pursuit in Para biathlon. In the two distance events he did not miss a target in the shooting range. 

If past seasons are any indication, Arendz hasn’t even hit his stride yet.

‘’I tend to be better at the tail end of the season,” said Arendz, who turns 34 on Sunday. “It was really encouraging to see that kind of speed already for myself. It’s been very different for us starting so late. 

‘’The competitors at those two World Cups were working their way into the early races and then kind of building on those as they got more comfortable.’’

The 2019 Para nordic World Championships were held at Caledonia. The Canadian team sparkled with 10 medals including four silver and two bronze for Arendz. There isn’t much Arendz hasn’t won in his magnificent career but a victory at Caledonia is still on his list.

‘’It’s a tough course for sure,’’ said Arendz, who lost his left arm above the elbow in a farming accident at age seven. ‘’It’s one of the greatest ski courses I’ve seen. I had some really good races there in 2019. I just couldn’t quite get to the top of the podium.”

The biathlon portion of the Para nordic event is still magical for Arendz.

‘’I’ve always loved it,’’ he said. ’It’s my favourite part. I’m enjoying the cross country a lot more now as I’ve been able to improve my technique and focus on efficiency. 

‘’That’s been a big help, but the biathlon is still the one that’s deep in my heart and dearest to me because it’s just a fantastic mix of having that that all-out effort and then coming in and controlling so many different aspects in the range.”

After the Para biathlon worlds, Arendz says he has more goals to accomplish at the World Cup final.

‘’It should give us an advantage to finish at home,” said Arendz, also studying kinesiology at the University of Calgary. ‘’I’m looking forward to ending the season with the 20 kilometre mass start, I really enjoyed it last year. There are some overall titles on the line and I’m in a really good position right now.’’

Home course advantage also means a lot of cheering for Team Canada.

‘’The event is in an amazing community and facility. I’m really hoping for a great turnout and lots of support from the home crowd.’’ 


Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields