Everyone wants to make their families proud. But if your dad, and your dad’s dad were both Olympians, how would you make them proud? For Mark Oldershaw, the choice was simple: become an Olympian and go for a medal.
London 2012 will be the 29-year-old Burlington native’s second time competing at the Olympics. At the 2008 Games, the pressure to live up to the family name proved too much. He was eliminated in the semifinal race of the C1-500 meter. It was a disappointing finish for Oldershaw and he knew he could do better this year in the C1-1000. Having flown through his semi-final race in second place to earn his spot in the finals, he put himself on the right track by winning bronze in today’s final.
Oldershaw’s father, Scott, competed as an Olympian but has travelled to London this time as coach. He works with his son and three-time medalist Adam Van Koeverden.
Growing up in the sport, Oldershaw became fast-friends with Van Koeverden. The kayaker pushes Oldershaw to be his best. Jokingly calling themselves “step-brothers”, the pair trains against each other urging each other to reach their top potential. Luckily, they aren’t in the same discipline and don’t race against one another. Spending up to 200 nights a year together during training, it’s surprising the pair doesn’t get sick of each other. But at the end of the day, Oldershaw appreciates having his best friend there to keep him focused, calm, and most importantly, to have fun. Heading into London together for a second time, they wholeheartedly agree, “We’re a family.”
Yes, they train hard. But they play hard too. “You have to find things that keep the mood light. And it’s those kind of things that you can come home and laugh about, and it brings you together.”
Oldershaw’s entire family provided motivation on his quest for the podium. His grandfather, Bert, competed in the last London Olympics in 1948. Scott, his father, competed in 1984. His uncles also competed in the Games during the 1980’s. But no Oldershaw has won a medal… until now.