Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OLYMPIC PREVIEW:Kayaker Mark De Jonge Leaves Nothing to Chance in Quest for Gold

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OLYMPIC PREVIEW:Kayaker Mark De Jonge Leaves Nothing to Chance in Quest for Gold

Article excerpt

RIO 2016:Mark de Jonge dreams of glory in Rio

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Mark de Jonge's mind never really stops racing.

A civil engineer by trade, the Canadian kayaker won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in the 200-metre singles event -- known as the K-1 -- and is the two-time defending world champion in the sprint distance.

De Jonge is always thinking and tinkering, whether it's with equipment or the mechanics of his stroke, as he looks for any edge in trying to fulfil his dream of winning gold at the Rio Summer Games.

"I've been really involved in the sports science that's helped me become a world champion and hopefully an Olympic champion," the 32-year-old said in an interview from Halifax.

De Jonge has applied his abilities away from the water with the goal of training better and smarter, stating on his personal website: "I am the most informed athlete in my sport on the physics of paddling."

"Just working with my own team and bringing my own engineering skills to the table has really helped a lot," the Dalhousie University graduate said. "Having that application of engineering to sport has been really great for me."

Scott Logan, the sprint high performance director at Canoe Kayak Canada, said de Jonge's need to fiddle and question common practices helps him relax.

"He's an intellectual guy and he needs to keep his brain active," said Logan. "He's always finding little projects, whether it's to distract him or to keep him busy or keep him occupied. Otherwise you're just: 'Eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, train.' It can be quite monotonous. In that dead time you can be thinking about all the wrong things -- doubt and all that sort of stuff.

"If you can occupy your brain with other things ... that just keeps him as a mature, involved person in the whole process. A lot of other athletes need to be told."

One of the favourites in the 200 metres in Brazil, de Jonge concedes there isn't a lot he can change on the technical side because of strict regulations for competition, but agrees it gives him peace of mind knowing that no stone is left unturned. …

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