Elizabeth Marks sustained bilateral hip injuries while serving as an Army medic in Iraq and took up competitive swimming as part of her recovery. In 2012, Marks excelled at the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Spring National Championships. She missed the 2014 competition due to illness, but by 2016 she was back at the top of her game, winning four gold medals at the Invictus Games in Orlando. She went on to make her Paralympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games, where she took home gold in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 4x100m medley relay. After years battling illness and chronic pain brought on by her injury, she opted to have her left leg amputated below the knee in 2017. At the 2019 World Championships, she won a gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke.
Away from the pool:
Marks is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and received the ESPY Pat Tillman Award.
In their own words:
“I love how hard swimming is. I use swimming and racing as my time to reflect and think about my brothers and sisters in the military and show my gratitude through a physical act. It is a very special and personal experience to me.”
“[Limb loss] was painful, but compared to what I’d been living in, it was a relief. It was kind of shocking that it had been so long that I’d been in pain, I didn’t really recognize it. I got emotional because immediately after the surgery, I felt so much better.”
Team USA Page
Team USA: “Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks Opens Para Swimming Trails Blazing With U.S. Record Win”
U.S. Army: “Army’s First Paralympic Swimmer Credits Her Military Family For Success”
Fox News: “Paralympian Elizabeth Marks Headed to Second Games, Far Exceeding Initial Goal to Be Just ‘Fit For Duty'”
Prior Paralympics: 2016
- Sport: Swimming
- Limb Difference: Left below-knee
- DOB: 8/7/1990
- Residence: Prescott Valley, AZ
- Classification: S6, SB6, SM6