Elizabeth Marks set a Paralympic world record for the women's 100-meter breaststroke
Elizabeth Marks became an Internet sensation when she won a gold medal at this summer’s Invictus Games, and decided to return her medal to Prince Harry to give back to the London hospital that she credits for saving her life.
Now Marks, 25, an active duty service member in the U.S. Army, is making headlines again as the winner of the gold medal in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke at her first Paralympic Games on Saturday.
Not only did Marks win, but she set a new Paralympic world record with a time of 1:28.13.
“I had no idea [I was winning],” Marks told the Team USA website. “I can’t see when I am swimming. About 25 meters in I have no idea where anybody else is. As long as I feel pressure on my hands I know it is going well. I was just hoping for the best and putting everything I had into it.”
Marks – who previously downplayed her encounter with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games – had nothing but praise for the royal.
“He’s a very nice, honest, good human being who is here for one purpose: to show the world that soldiers can move forward from their injuries, and to support them,” Marks told PEOPLE in May. “He uses his fame and his influence to support soldiers.”
She explained that her desire to swim competitively comes from a drive to make her fellow soldiers proud.
“My driving force when I compete are the soldiers that I get to serve,” Marks said at the time. “The only reason I am here is to compete for my country and spend time with amazing people.”