Born in Victoria, BC, Neal Marshall followed in the steps of his great-grandfather, Klaas Hanje, who was the Dutch national sprint champion, by taking up the sport of speed skating. Marshall’s involvement in the sport began in Prince George in 1977 after the family relocated from Victoria. Marshall’s mother, Ann, was one of the founding members of the Prince George Speed Skating Club and Neal, along with his brothers Kevin and Mike, were all active members of the club which began on a flooded outdoor lacrosse box. Eventually the sport took over the family with father Allan and younger brother Kevin also becoming heavily involved.

Marshall was always interested in a variety of sports while in his pre and early teens. He was a promising middle distance runner and had success at the BC Summer Games as a cyclist until deciding to concentrate on speed skating. From that point on Marshall had great successes in his chosen sport.

Marshall was a member of the national long track speed skating team from 1990-98 and during this time he achieved a long and impressive list of accomplishments. He was the first Canadian skater to win a world individual title in 1994-5 in the 1500m event. He was named Speed Skate Canada Long Track Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years (1995-97) and was a six-time Canadian all-round champion starting in the 1991-92 season through the 1996-97 season. Marshall also participated in three consecutive Winter Olympic Games (1992 in Albertville, 1994 in Lillehamer, and 1998 in Nagano) prior to retirement from competition in 1998.

Marshall’s retirement from competition did not mean retirement from the sport however. He worked as the speed skating commentator for CBC Television, including at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Marshall received his diploma from the National Coaching Institute and worked with provincial skaters who were approaching the national team level. As for the brothers he started skating with, they were also at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games: Kevin was there as an athlete and Mike as a national coach. It would seem they all have taken after their great-grandfather.