Fri, September 20, 2013

Oldershaw and Van Koeverden spur one another to success

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


Canada's Mark Oldershaw gives a thumbs up after competing in the men's canoe single (K1) 1000m semifinal at the Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 6, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young


LONDON - He is a long-time training partner and friend and Adam van Koeverden casts a long shadow over Mark Oldershaw.

But here’s why that’s not such a bad thing for the Burlington, Ont., paddler.

Oldershaw will compete in his first Olympic final on Wednesday morning when he lines up in the water for the C-1 1,000-metre event. But because he races in a canoe and not a kayak, he’ll never have to race against his pal.

And then there’s the fact that if van Koeverden is in the peak shape he would appear to be, that bodes well for Oldershaw, a third-generation Olympian whose grandfather Bert raced first raced in the 1948 London Games.

“(Van Koeverden) has inspired me my whole life,” Oldershaw said. “It’s good to know he’s on form because we are on the same training program. Just to see him doing so well is great.

“He’s been a mentor and a sparring partner too. We butt heads at times too but we’ve been great friends. It’s been a great partnership — the fact that we don’t have to race each other, but that we can train together and still have that focus is awesome.”

Though he is facing a field loaded with former world and Olympic champions, Oldershaw has had enough success on the world cup circuit in the past couple of summers to believe he can challenge for a medal now that he’s qualified for the final.

“I’m way less nervous (than Beijing four years ago),” Oldershaw waid. “Obviously a lot of people come into their first Olympics and do well but some people don’t.

“I just wasn’t in the right place physically and mentally last time to be ready to do that and I leared a lot from it.”