Marsha Mark-Baird: Mormon Athlete
Marsha Mark-Baird is an Olympic athlete who participated in the heptathlon at both the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
She grew up in Trinidad and started racing competitively in sixth grade. She had run in neighborhood races before, but this race came with a prize from her father: a new bicycle if she won her age group. After training hard, Mark-Baird won her age group and also beat all the boys in her neighborhood.
In addition to running, Mark-Baird was a skilled in javelin throw. She had never heard of the heptathlon event until a Ricks College coach recruited her to train, so she learned how to excel in shot put, hurdles, and high jump. The heptathlon consists of seven track and field events. Within a few months, she was breaking school records.
After two years at Ricks, she transferred to Brigham Young University and earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work. She placed ninth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships and with her women’s track and field team was runner-up at the Western Athletic Conference in San Diego, California. She was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soon after her graduation.
She won a silver medal in heptathlon at the 1998 Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela. In 2000, Mark-Baird made history as the first athlete from Trinidad and Tobago to compete in the heptathlon, where she placed 22. In 2004, she competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics where she placed 25. She retired and devoted her time to her husband and the three sons that were born to them. She came out of retirement to vie for the opportunity to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio; however, she did not qualify. She competed in the World Masters Games in Lyon, France, in 2015, where she earned individual gold in the women’s 40–44 heptathlon and long jump and anchored the victorious 4x100 meter relay women’s over 35 team. She also competed in the World Masters Games in Perth, Australia, in 2016, where she took gold in long jump, heptathlon, and javelin. She won silver in the 80-meter hurdles.
She lives in Utah with her husband, Gregory, and their three sons.