By Kent Larsen
LDS Track Star Inducted in Track Hall of Fame
MOBILE, ALABAMA -- Olympic track star and member of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints Henry Marsh was inducted into the National Track
and Field Hall of Fame last week. Marsh, 47, is a four-time Olympian who
still holds the American record in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He was
inducted along with star sprinter/long jumper Carl Lewis, long jumper Larry
Myricks and marthoner Alberto Salazar on November 30th at the USA Track and
Field's Annual Meeting in Mobile.
Henry Dinwoodey Marsh is considered one of the greatest steeplechasers of
all time. He was one of the world's top ten steeplechasers for 12 straight
years, and best in the world for three of those years, the only time an
American has done so. He set the American record in the steeplechase four
times, and still holds the record, and which has stood for 16 years. Marsh
said he was pleased at the honor, "to me, this means so much, because it is
a validation of my career . . . you work so hard for so many years."
Marsh first gained attention in Track and Field after walkiing on at BYU in
1976. At first his time in the steeplechase was more than a minute off the
American record. But within months he was close to the record. He came in
second at the NCAA meet that year, and then was second in the Olympic
Trials, and by the Montreal Olympic Games later that year, he had barely
missed the American record and finished 10th overall.
Less than four years later, Marsh was poised to win gold. He won the 1979
steeplechase at the Spartakiad in Russia, "To have the national anthem
played in Lenin Stadium in the midst of the Cold War was just an incredible
experience," he remembers. The next year, at the Olympic Trials, he set an
American record and was voted top male performer.
But the U.S. team never went to the Olympics that year. The U.S. boycotted
the games. "At the time, I was on the executive committee of the U.S.
Olympic Committee and was actually sent to the White House to be
indoctrinated on why we had to boycott." He says that the boycott made his
performance at the trials that much more meaningful.
But Marsh wasn't done by any means. Over his long career, he represented the
U.S. 19 times in international competition, and was on a total of four
Olympic teams, including the 1980 boycott team. He was the 1979 Pan American
Games champion and was a member of the 1983 and 1987 World Championship
Teams. In 1985, Marsh set his best time ever, finishing the 3,000 meter
steeplechase in 8:09.17 at Koblenz, West Germany.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Marsh grew up there and in Utah, Texas and
Hawaii before serving an LDS mission to Brazil. He graduated from BYU in
1978 Cum Laude in economics and pre-law. While maintaining his sports
career, he then attended and graduated from the University of Oregon Law
School in 1981.
A resident of Bountiful, Utah, Marsh practices as an attorney in Utah. He
also has written a motivational book that details some of his experiences
and is available as a motivational speaker on topics dealing with health and
Hall Induction: Excellence Validated, Former BYU steeplechaser Marsh earns honor
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More about Henry Marsh's "Breakthrough Factor : Creating Success and Happiness Through a Life of Value" at Amazon.com