07/08/2015 10:38 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 05:59 EDT

Mark Oldershaw, Pan Am Games flag-bearer, set to defend 'home water'

Canadian canoeist and Olympic bronze medalist Mark Oldershaw unleased his patriotic fervour at the Pan Am Games welcome ceremony for our athletes Wednesday evening.

"I'm so proud to be Canadian," said Oldershaw, who will lead a team comprising more than 700 athletes at the opening ceremony on Friday. "It's the year of sport in Canada, it's the flag's 50th anniversary, we have the Games here in Toronto, and just to be representing so many amazing athletes, it's a true honour."

The 32-year-old Burlington, Ont., native is a third-generation Olympian and the fifth member of his family to have competed at the Olympic Games. Oldershaw's grandfather Bert competed in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956), while his father, Scott, took part in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Oldershaw said he's set to "defend my home water."

"It's my home course, it's where we grew up racing and the way I'm going to treat it is that these other competitors are coming in and I'm gonna defend my home water," he said. "With my best race I can get the gold, and that's what I'm focussed on now."

Oldershaw will be competing in his first Pan Am Games and is one of the favourites to capture gold in men's C-1 1,000m. Women will make history at the Games, participating in the first women's canoe C-1 200 sprint event. Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe is the current canoe – sprint world champion and is looking to win a gold medal.