Mark McKoy is a Success Coach, Speaker, Mentor, Health & Fitness Advisor and a 5 time member of Canada’s Olympic team who Captured the Gold Medal in Men’s 110m Hurdles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
During his athletic career he competed at 4 Olympic Games, 5 World Championships, 2 Commonwealth Games and is a member of the Canadian Athletics Hall of Fame and the Ontario Athletics Hall Of Fame.
Mark is also currently the director of training and development at One Health Clubs and CEO & President of Gold Medal Enterprises which specialize in inspiring groups and teams.
When did your athletic career begin?
Mark was born in England, where they didn’t have the variety of sports found in North America. He says that even at the age of 10 he was, “Always interested in developing fitness program.”
In the early days, Mark competed in track and Soccer, although he focussed more on Soccer where he competed at the equivalent of a rep level.
Mark moved from England to Toronto when he was 12 years old and his family settled in North York. He continued to play rep soccer in Canada and then in high school he played everything Volleyball, Basketball and Football. It was at the age of 15 that Mark gave up the other sports and specialized in Track because, “I loved running and the Olympic were huge in England. I remember being glued to Olympic ever since the Munich games.”
When Mark was in Grade 10 he was attending the same high school as Tony Sharpe, who also competed in the Olympics for Canada as a sprinter and had held the Canadian record in the 200 meters. In order to avoid competing directly with Tony, he chose to pick up the hurdles. When it comes to Tony, Mark refers to him as, “One of my first friends in Canada, and we are still friends today over 40 years later.”
What have been your greatest athletic accomplishments?
Marks biggest accomplishment is an obvious one, having capture an Olympic Gold and being at the pinnacle of his sport, but he also adds the 1982 Common Wealth Games because, “Nobody knew who I was coming in and I ended up winning the Gold; I was not “supposed” to have that kind of success at that time.”
He would go on to Capture the Gold again at the 1986 Commonwealth Games while setting new Canadian and Commonwealth records while also capturing Gold in the 4 x 100 relay. In 1986 he set the World Record in the 50m hurdles and that record has still not been broken. He also holds every Canadian and Austrian hurdle record.
What adversity have you overcome as an athlete?
In 1988 Mark began training with Ben Johnson and Charlie Francis. During this training, which he would later admit involved steroid use, Mark was getting bigger but running slower. It also resulted in injuries, which were caused by extensive muscle growth but no tendon growth. This included a 1988 Achilles surgery.
He was suspended after Ben Johnson was busted, because he left and came home without permission. During the Dubin Inquiry he admitted to doping and was then banned from competing for 2 years.
The Road to Mark’s Comeback
Mark got married in that 2 year period and moved over to Germany to try and enter some competitions, but nobody would let him compete in major competitions because he wasn’t fast enough. So he started running in smaller events around Germany so that he could build up his times.
“In 1991 I came 3rd in the indoor championship in Spain and I knew I was back.”
Mark then came 4th at the Outdoor World Championships in 1991. By the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona everyone from 1988 training had retired. He ran a 13.12 to win the gold medal.
“I competed in 1993 in the World Indoor Championship in Toronto and later that year ran my best time a 13.08 and then competed in the 100 meter dash and put up a 10.08. I was in great shape and very relaxed because I was just having fun.” Those times in the hurdles and the dash were only a half an hour apart.
How often do your workout
“Right now I’m in maintenance mode.”
Mark works at One Health Clubs, working out virtually every day, totaling about 10, 1 hour sessions each week. These are part of his group training sessions that he’s teaching at One Fitness, where a typical session is 1 hour and includes a variety of sprinting, plyometrics, calisthenics and weight training. In addition to that he does about 2-3 heavy lifting sessions with Jamie Don one of the owners of One Health.
Any special injury prevention tips for athletes over 45.
“#1 Stay off the Treadmill. It’s the worst piece of equipment ever invented,” Mark says, he prefers exercises with higher intensity and shorter duration.
He also advises that you get the body really warm and get the blood flowing before you start your work out. “Its imperative athletes of all ages get the proper muscle activation before starting to workout. Leave your ego at the door”
Number 1 Fitness Tip
“Increase your level of intensity when training. You get what you deserve and not what you want. Up the level of intensity and really keep your focus”
In speaking with Mark – it’s easy to tell he remains a hard core athlete. While it may go against what others experts have to say I share his stance on Treadmills. I think there are much more effective tools to use as a warm up device or calorie burner.