Carrie chats with Olympian Shani Marks Johnson! They discuss her career, her battle with cancer, life as a mother, and her children’s latest endeavor to sell bracelets for helping those affected by the injustice and suffering from the riots in Minneapolis (they’ve raised nearly $150,000 so far!).
Recorded August 4, 2020
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Shani Marks Johnson
Shani Marks Johnson rejoined the Minnesota track and field coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in August 2012. A former Golden Gopher standout, she went on to win multiple USA Championships and ultimately compete in the Olympic Games. She previously served as a volunteer assistant for the Gophers from 2003 to 2009. Marks coaches long jump and triple jump.
Marks more recently returned to her high school alma mater, Apple Valley, to coach jumps and sprints for two years. She has also spent time coaching with the Real Track and Field AAU team and Fuzion Athletics training club and working as a personal trainer and personal coach.
In 2008, Marks qualified for the Olympic Games in the triple jump by winning at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a career-best and Hayward Field record of 47 feet, 2 1/4 inches. She went on to finish 28th in Beijing. Marks is one of three Olympians ever to come out of the Minnesota track and field program. She is the only Golden Gopher track and field athlete to compete for Team USA in the Olympic Games.
During her collegiate career at Minnesota, Marks earned All-America honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in 2003, with a runner-up finish in the triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and a sixth-place finish indoors. She was also an All-American outdoors in 2002. Marks won three Big Ten titles: two in the outdoor triple jump (2001, 2003), and one in the indoor 600 meters (2001). Marks was a first-team Academic All-American in 2003 as well.
The year after her Gopher career ended, Marks finished fourth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. In the next four years, she won three USA Outdoor triple jump titles (2006, 2007, 2008) and two USA Indoor titles (2005, 2007). She competed for Team USA at the 2007 and 2009 Outdoor World Championships, the 2008 Indoor World Championships, and the 2006 World Cup.
Marks earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2002. She completed her masters of education in applied kinesiology in 2003.
Shani currently does private and small group track & field training and is also the head track coach at Southwest Christian High School in Chaska. Marks and her husband, former Gopher football player Ron Johnson, have 2 daughters (Kamryn, 9 and Quinn, 5)