07/05/2016 08:45 EDT | Updated 08/03/2016 11:59 EDT

How I Raised Canadian Olympian Mark Oldershaw

Coming from a long line of athletes doesn't guarantee a medal, but doing whatever it takes to have your child succeed may be the thing that helps someone get there.


Coming from a long line of athletes doesn't guarantee a medal, but doing whatever it takes to have your child succeed may be the thing that helps someone get there.

My son, canoeist and bronze medalist, Mark Oldershaw, is a third-generation Olympian and the fifth member of our family to compete at an Olympic Games. The first relative to do so was his grandfather who competed in the 1948 Olympic Games.

Mark was pretty much born with a paddle in his hand. My husband and I knew from his early years that our strong family influence and his love for the water was enough to carry on a pretty impressive legacy of competing among the best in the world.

Mark grew up around a canoe club and was about seven when he first sat in a boat by himself. He began racing at nine and dedicated his life to canoeing.

Sports have always been a part of our family and I made sure we were always there to support one another. From jetting to practices to preparing meals on our down time, we made sure to always remain positive and maintain a strong family unit. Cheering each other on became a family tradition and one of our favourite ways to celebrate was to have family picnics following the meets or practices.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be his second time representing Canada following his bronze win at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Throughout Mark's journey, there have been setbacks and failures, but the strength and support of our family was the best way to encourage him to keep working towards his dream. When Mark was going through his hand surgery, which was such a trying time, we as a family had to support him and remain positive. It helps that Mark is one of the most positive people I know and quitting is not in his vocabulary. That's why we're happy to be a part of P&G's Thank You Mom program that champions the strength of moms and supports athletes all over the world. Of course as a first time dad with his wife Annamay, they are especially appreciative of the opportunity to represent the Pampers brand. Goodness knows - they certainly go through a lot of diapers!

Raising a Canadian athlete is an amazing job and I am incredibly proud of Mark's accomplishments. I know that he will carry the lessons of strength and support into his own family, with Annamay as they raise their beautiful daughter, Josephine.

Athlete Bio

As a third generation Olympian and the fifth member of his family to compete at the games, Mark Oldershaw is no stranger to the Olympic Games. The family legacy in canoe and kayak began with Mark's grandfather Bert, who founded the Mississauga Canoe Club in 1958 following his three Olympic appearances. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Mark became the first in his family to win a medal, capturing a bronze in C-1 1000 metres event. Mark has been a consistent podium contender in the C-1 1,000 metres event ever since moving into a solo boat in 2006.

Mark is proud to be the Pampers brand ambassador and member of P&G's "Thank You Mom" team, along with his mom Connie, his wife former Olympian Annamay Pierse and daughter Josephine.