Oldershaw fine tuning his focus

The story of the Oldershaw family is full of Olympic pride. It’s an inspiring piece of Canadian sporting history, the kind of story dreams are made of. But this year, as the London Games approach, Mark Oldershaw is ready to write his own story.

“Now I can focus on just being the best,” said the C1-1000m paddler looking back on his experience at the 2008 Beijing Games and his status, now, as a third-generation Olympian.

With a solid season behind him and a quiet confidence he says is at an all-time high, the canoe veteran is putting his decade of world-class experience into a single focus so he can deliver over 1,000m on the water — on an August day in 2012.

“Before Beijing I was just trying to be fast,” said the Burlington, Ont. native. “Now I’m totally focused in on wanting the best race of my life next year in August in London. That kind of focus makes it so much easier.”

Oldershaw and his training group began their off-season in Florida, an endurance phase of Games preparation. Before leaving on that trip, he spent a weekend among his Olympic peers, hopefuls and mentors at the 2011 Olympic Excellence Series. It was an experience that gave this 28-year-old an extra layer of ambition with London approaching.

“It’s so motivating,” said Oldershaw of the atmosphere among this year’s group of determined athletes.

“Everyone has that sense of wanting to be the best — wanting to be the best for Canada. That comes across strong, how proud everyone is to represent Canada. It’s something that has definitely grown.”

Sharing national unity and Canadian team pride is a part of Olympic success, says Olderhaw. Doing his part to put it on the podium, however, is an idea that will affect every decision he will make between now and August.

It’s an idea Mark Oldershaw is using to contribute to the newest chapter in his Olympic story.

“Just because we’re Canadians doesn’t mean we can’t win in every event. There’s no reason to sit back and not try to be proud,” he said. “Why not us?”