Marks captures gold medal, sets new record at Paralympics

Marks captures gold medal, sets new record at Paralympics

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sergeant Elizabeth Marks, a combat medic and a Paralympic swimmer in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, won a gold medal for Team USA and set a new Paralympic record in the women’s SB7 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:28.83.

Marks, a native of Prescott, Az., made headlines earlier this year when she won four gold medals at the 2016 Invictus Games at Walt Disney World ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

Prince Harry presents a gold medal to U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla. (Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie)

She gave one of those gold medals to Invictus Games founder Prince Harry to deliver to members of the Papworth Hospital staff that saved Marks’ life after she traveled to London to compete in the inaugural Invictus Games in the fall of 2014.

Marks sustained bilateral hip injuries in 2010 while serving in Iraq, and nearly died in London in 2014 from the respiratory infection that led to a medically induced coma that lasted nearly one month.

Marks joined the Army at age 17, and is now stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado.

She punched her ticket to Rio de Janeiro with stellar performances at the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team Trials June 30 through July 2 at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Speaking about her entry into the sport, Marks said, “When I was recovering from bilateral hip injuries sustained in Iraq in 2010 I wanted to stay fit in hopes that the Army would keep me.

“I couldn’t yet walk after my latest surgery in January of 2012 so I went to the pool and scooted in. A week or so later a woman saw me swimming and asked if I wanted to learn how – it was Stephanie Barnes, one of the coaches for Warrior Games athletes.”

She continued, “After teaching me the strokes I had my first competition 2 months later and was classified for Paralympic swimming. I competed at the Warrior Games in 2012 and fell in love.”