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Hall of Fame Profile: Catching Up with LaShinda Demus

by Brad Muller

There’s isn’t too much LaShinda Demus (2002-2004) didn’t achieve in her track and field career. Now, the 11-time former South Carolina All-American and Olympic medalist gets to share her latest honor with her husband and four sons when she is inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame later this month.

“I was so happy and excited when I found out,” said Demus, who lives in Los Angeles, California. “I’m excited that my kids get to experience this with me.”

Demus and her husband, Jamel Mayrant, have twin fifteen-year-old sons (Dontay and Duaine), as well as three-year-old (Syre) and two-year-old (Sincere) sons.

Demus was a two-time SEC Champion and four-time NCAA champion for the Gamecocks, winning NCAA titles in the indoor 400 meters in 2003, indoor 4×400-meter relay in 2002, outdoor 400-meter hurdles in 2002, and the outdoor 4×400-meter relay in 2002. She was also a big part of the Gamecock National Champion team in 2002.

“It was a lot of fun,” Demus said of her time on campus. “Just being the first team in the school’s history to win a national title was a really cool experience. That was a good time. There was a great culture on the track team that was promoted. If you had the right mentality, and if you were talented, you were going to be a champion. The culture was created before I got there. That was something that (head) coach Curtis Frye was so good at creating. He created a culture and a mindset of champions.

“My favorite event will always be the one I was best at: the 400-meter hurdles.”

Demus also qualified for two Olympic Games, once while she was still a student at South Carolina in 2004, and another eight years later when she earned a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles in 2012. She was also the World Champion in the event in 2011.

“The top memory for me with that was the Olympic Games in 2012 because I was able to take the twins with me,” Demus recalled. “They were about five years old. They were in the stands when I was competing. My whole family was out there. That was a really fun time.”

“Track did so much for me, and if I can help some kids navigate through the process, even if they don’t get to the college level, then it’s the least I can do. I want to help people.”
LaShinda Demus

She officially hung up her running spikes in 2017, and now the mother of four splits time working as clinical research associate for Innovaderm and also coaches track part time at a local high school in L.A. Both pursuits bring her a lot of enjoyment.

“I always said I would stay with track and field and give back the best way that I can,” Demus said. “So far it has been at the high school level, and I wouldn’t mind doing it at the college level. It’s all about just giving back. Track did so much for me, and if I can help some kids navigate through the process, even if they don’t get to the college level, then it’s the least I can do. I want to help people.

“With clinical research, I’m interested in studies. For instance, with the COVID vaccines, that would be something where we monitor the results and data of the efficiency of it. I like that I can help bring new things to the market that helps people. It’s cool to just be a part of that process.”

Now that she is no longer running, Demus does miss competing sometimes.

“My twin sons are running in high school now, and it’s more fun watching them get better,” Demus said. “I’m very competitive in everything I do. At first, I didn’t miss it because I started running when I was five years old and started training fiercely when I was nine. I worked like a professional pretty much my whole life when it comes to training, so I didn’t miss it at first. I was tired. My body was tired. It wasn’t until COVID hit and those Olympic Games were pushed a year out that I started missing it. Maybe it put things in perspective for me in terms of how good I had it. I do miss competing and traveling now.”

Demus noted that she doesn’t coach her sons, and even though she is a hall of famer, she’s not about to challenge them to a race around the track on her return to campus.

“No, they’d have me for sure,” Demus said with a laugh. “I’m slow now. I look back now and can’t believe I was as fast as I was!

“I’m bringing all four sons with me (for Hall of Fame weekend), so just showing them around is what I’m looking forward to. It’ll especially be fun for the twins because they’ll be going to college in a couple of years. I’m happy to get to see coach Frye and (assistant) coach Dee (Delethea Quarles). They were an instrumental part of my time there. I’m excited to see what’s new on campus too!”

Festivities for the 2022 class of the University of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame sponsored by the Association of Lettermen will be held the weekend of October 28-30.