Elizabeth Marks started her journey to the Paralympics in 2010, when she sustained bilateral hip injuries while serving as a combat medic in Iraq. She took up competitive swimming while recovering from three reconstructive surgeries. In 2012, Marks competed at the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Spring National Championships where she earned a few wins. In 2014, she fell ill, but got right back in the pool and won four gold medals at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. She went on the 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. Since then, she has competed in multiple World Championships and is looking forward to her next Paralympics games.
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 think I just really enjoy swimming. I think it’s a lot of fun. So, I don’t know, I think sometimes the times reflect that when you’re happy. I’m just excited to be here.”
“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.”
“It 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'”
- Limb Difference: Left below-knee
- DOB: 8/7/1990
- Residence: Prescott Valley, AZ
- Previous Games: 2016
- Classification: S6, SB6, SM6