Family has played a major role in shaping the career and lifestyle of Katie Class Marquard, just the third speed skater inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
At age five, Marquard, the youngest in a family of seven siblings, followed an older sister back in their native Minnesota to the Midway Speedskating Club (sis claimed it had the best uniforms of any club). She eventually met her husband Dennis, a Clevelander and fellow National Hall of Fame inductee, through the ice sport, and now coaches her children Abbie and Nick at the rink near her home in Westlake.
In several interviews, Katie has repeated that speedskating is a family sport and that since she took to the ice before she was old enough to attend school, her family has been involved and very supportive.
Twice a member of the U. S. Olympic team (Sarajevo in ’84, Calgary in ’88), Marquard was on five World Sprint squads, three World Allround and three additional World Cup teams.
Her best finishes in speedskating came at the World Championships in 1987, when she captured a bronze medal in 500m. Katie was also third overall in the 1500m World Cup rankings in 1986 and 1987.
Marquard competed in the 500m, 1000m and 1500, in the Olympics. While the Games of Calgary were open and carefree, she recalls the Games of Sarajevo for its tight security that included security guards toting machine guns in the athlete’s village.
Katie retired from competition a year after the Calgary Olympics and a year later graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in business/marketing.
Speedskating remained paramount for Marquard as she became executive director of U.S. Speedskating. The relocation of the office brought her to Ohio.
Last year, Marquard was inducted in the U.S. Speedskating Hall of Fame. Again, her strong family ties came into play when Katie said one of the best parts of the honor was having her mother tell her how proud she was of her.