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“When you tackle a challenge that you cannot even fathom tackling—when you accomplish that, the amount of integrity and the will and the heart that you’ll get from that experience is what will set you up for your life.”

Marlon Shirley


About This Billboard

Marlon Shirley saw his fair share of struggles as a young boy, living with his mother who was gone a lot and moved frequently to keep trouble from catching up with her. Shirley was five years old when, living with other children on the streets of Las Vegas, he was picked up by social services. He was placed at an orphanage where he began the “pinball life of an institutional orphan.”

His life in the children’s home would literally leave a lasting mark. In 1984, the caretaker of the orphanage was letting the kids jump on and off a riding lawnmower while he mowed the lawn around the facility. Shirley slipped, and the lawnmower ran over his leg. Shirley later woke up with an amputation above the ankle, his foot gone forever.

Shirley bounced around to various foster homes over the years until he was adopted by a family from Utah in 1987. He took the Shirleys’ last name and feels blessed to have been found by them.

Despite having an upbringing that might have broken many people, Shirley has not only found a way to prevail, but has found the drive to become a world-class athlete. He owns two world records, in the 100-meter dash and the long jump. In 2000, at the Paralympic Games in Sydney he won the 100m dash and took silver in the high jump. He was the first and only lower leg amputee to break the 11-second mark in the 100m dash, setting a time of 10.91 seconds in 2007.

Today, as a 10-time World Champion and Paralympic champion, Shirley is a spokesperson for the Paralympic Movement and other sponsors. He is also a motivational speaker, bringing to others his inspirational message that there is nothing we cannot achieve—provided we have the determination and the belief in ourselves to overcome our challenges.

Overcoming. Pass It On!




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