Fu­elled by the moose

Spring­vale’s Mark Arendz part of T-shirt cam­paign to raise funds for Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY CHARLES REID

Mark Arendz has had many team­mates over his 11 years on the Cana­dian na­tional para­nordic ski­ing team, but they’ve al­ways been hu­man.

This year, how­ever, the Hartsville na­tive added a moose to the squad.

Arendz, 27, is part of a 16mem­ber group of Olympic and Par­a­lympic ath­letes, coined the High-Per­for­mance Herd of 2018, who’ve joined with car­toon­ist Dave El­ston and de­signed T-shirts all with a moose (not much is more Cana­dian, af­ter all) de­pict­ing their sports. Each has a per­sonal touch spe­cific to the ath­letes.

It’s a fundrais­ing cam­paign to help de­fray train­ing costs lead­ing into the Olympic Win­ter Games, Feb. 9-25, and the Par­a­lympic Win­ter Games March 9-18, both in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Arendz, 27, is aiming to im­prove on his sil­ver and bronze medal per­for­mance in biathlon at the 2014 Par­a­lympics and has been train­ing in New Zealand.

The Guardian caught up with Arendz to talk about the T-shirt cam­paign and his train­ing with the Games about seven months away.

It will be his third time at the Games and, given his win­ning three medals at a test event last March at the ski­ing venue in Pyeongchang, he has a good chance to add to his tro­phy case.

The Guardian - How and why did you get in­volved with the moose T-shirt cam­paign?

Arendz - I was in­vited to join this fundrais­ing cam­paign along with sev­eral other ath­letes from across Canada. The group teamed up with car­toon­ist Dave El­ston. The goal was to cre­ate a col­lec­tion of car­toons that were both fun and were very Cana­dian. It was de­cided to use the moose in all the car­toons. Con­tin­u­ing the moose theme, we called our­selves the High-Per­for­mance Herd. Dave drew the moose car­toons that will be printed on shirts that the ath­letes will then sell, re­ceiv­ing a por­tion of the pro­ceeds from each sale. I de­cided to take part in this project as a fun way to pro­mote the up­com­ing Games and to raise some ex­tra funds to help with my train­ing in this most im­por­tant of sea­sons.

The Guardian - What does your shirt look like and did you work with the artist to come up with a de­sign? And are you happy with the de­pic­tion?

Arendz - All the de­signs that Dave has done are amaz­ing. Along with a few generic car­toons, Dave worked with each ath­lete to cre­ate a per­son­al­ized car­toon. For my moose, part of the antler is miss­ing, a play on the fact I’m miss­ing an arm but also some­thing that does oc­cur nat­u­rally. Dave and I thought it was a clever way to in­cor­po­rate that into the de­sign. Be­sides my de­sign of a moose miss­ing part of its antler, I love the ‘Cana­dian Podium’ or the ‘Get the Antlers’ de­pic­tions.

The Guardian - When do you re­turn to Al­berta for train­ing? What took you to New Zealand? Arendz - I’m cur­rently in New Zealand for an on-snow train­ing camp. With it be­ing win­ter in the South­ern Hemi­sphere, it pro­vides me an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to train for three weeks in fan­tas­tic snow con­di­tions. The qual­ity of train­ing here at the Snow Farm Lodge is sec­ond to none. It has been a sta­ple of my train­ing sea­son for over a decade now, the gains I make year in, year out can­not be matched any­where else. My fo­cus will be on ski­ing tech­nique on-snow and my ap­proach to the range, set­ting up my shoot­ing bouts. Though be­ing at this camp means I miss most of the sum­mer back in Canada. I re­turn to Can­more (Alta.), where I now live and train most of the year, for the last week of Au­gust.

The Guardian - How has train­ing gone so far and how have you al­tered it for the new sea­son and the Par­a­lympics?

Arendz - It helps to have the re­sults I did last sea­son. I be­gan this sea­son ex­cited and ea­ger to train, want­ing to get that lit­tle bit more. By this, I started the new train­ing sea­son in great shape and just wanted to push that fit­ness to the next level. The idea is to change very lit­tle re­gard­ing my train­ing this sea­son. The past sea­sons were prac­tice runs, if you will, to make sure what­ever we did works the way we want it to. Try­ing to elim­i­nate any sur­prises in this Par­a­lympic year. There will be a lit­tle more fo­cus on speed and in­ten­sity as we get into win­ter.

The T-shirts are $30 (plus GST and ship­ping in Canada) and can be pur­chased in men’s, women’s and youth sizes at https://high­per­forma.ite­morder.com/sale. Ath­letes will sell the shirts through their so­cial me­dia chan­nels and at com­mu­nity out­reach events in the sum­mer. Sales will con­tinue through the win­ter sea­son.

On the web at www.markarendz.com.

SUB­MIT­TED

Mark Arendz af­ter win­ning gold in the mid­dle stand­ing biathlon in Fe­bru­ary at the World Para-Nordic Ski­ing Cham­pi­onships in Fin­sterau, Ger­many.

SUB­MIT­TED

Mark Arendz’s moose de­sign for the High-Per­for­mance Herd of 2018 Tshirt fundrais­ing cam­paign.

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