A competitive flatwater kayaker from Halifax, NS, who has put his engineering career on standby to make yet another run at the Olympics. We found him in Florida training intensely among the dolphins and manatees…
On pronouncing my name: Mark de Jonge… as in, you know, Yonge Street (The J is pronounced as a Y)!
On where I am at this moment: Indian Harbour Beach near Cape Canaveral, FL, along the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s hot and sunny. There are dolphins and manatees swimming along beside us.
On my training regime: Six days a week I’m on the water by 7:30 a.m. for two hours. Then I run and do weights for one or two hours. Eat lunch. Nap. At 4 p.m. I’m back on the water.
On becoming a sprinter: I stepped back from kayaking longer distances (500 m & 1,000 m) in 2008 after not making the Beijing Olympics. I studied and worked in engineering. But in 2009, I began training in the K1 200 m and here I am, working towards London. I’ve always been a natural sprinter. It’s the way my body’s built… for high power output.
On what motivates me: I know what it’s like to have a job… to go to work every day. I’ll return to engineering some day, but for now as a kayaker all I want to do is go faster.
On why I want to go to the Olympics: As a kid I was always trying to go fast. I would make my siblings time me doing just about anything! My competitive spirit has never faded. I dream of competing at the highest level possible.
On being Royal: The 2012 Olympic kayaking venue is called Eton Dorney… part of Eton College. Prince Harry and Prince William were educated there. It’s so beautiful: green grass, bridges, sheep grazing up and down the river.
On what I’m hoping will happen: My goals are set high for the Olympics. I’m hoping for a medal. Whoops… everyone tells me I’m not supposed to say that.
By Lori Knowles