How inspiring! Paraswimmer Sgt. Elizabeth Marks was honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2016 ESPYs and boy is she deserving of it. She’s a recent Invictus Games medalist and gave a moving speech where she gave hope to anyone struggling or hurting.
Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, 25, is the courageous paraswimmer who used the sport to recover from serious injuries she suffered in Iraq while serving in the Army. Now the Invictus games champ has been awarded the Pat Tillman Award for Service at the ESPYs and she certainly earned it! Keep reading for more about her emotional speech and why Elizabeth is such an inspiration to us all.
Elizabeth is the very first active duty member to receive the Pat Tillman Award, and her story was told via an amazing video montage that told of how she used swimming to recover from a combat injury which helped her remain an active duty military officer. She received a standing ovation when she took the stage, and thanked Pat’s Foundation that helps “turn an absolute tragedy into a triumph.”
“Thank you to my father for standing by me and always believing in me,” she noted while also praising servicemen and women and their families. She then promised “I’ll do everything I can to bring home the gold in Rio,” before ending her speech by telling the audience “If you’re struggling, if you’re hurting… if you ever think you’re alone. You’re not.”
Elizabeth recently made headlines with her four swimming wins at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. She stunned the world when she ran up to Prince Harry, 31, after he awarded her medal and gave it back, asking that he have it sent to the doctors at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge as a thank you for their hard work in keeping her alive after a scary near death infection. You see, Elizabeth was struck down with a serious lung condition when she arrived in London to compete in the first Invictus Games in Britain and was put into an induced coma by doctors at Papworth that ultimately saved her life. Talk about selfless!
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 14, 2016
At age 19, she had only been in Iraq for seven months when Elizabeth suffered debilitating hip injuries in 2010 that caused her to lose all feeling in her left leg. After her injury, she underwent three surgeries to restructure her hips in order to gain enough mobility to walk, but then she then took to the pool as part of her recovery and has since become a paraswimming sensation! She’s favored to win the 100 metre breaststroke at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, an event in which she holds a record time of 1:30:44. How amazing!
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of Elizabeth’s inspiring award?