Scout Bassett Talks Paralympic Achievements, Role Models, More in B/R AMA

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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Paralympic athlete Scout Bassett is a two-time bronze medalist at the World Para Athletics Championships and won gold in the women's long jump at the 2019 Parapan American Games. 

On Tuesday, she did a B/R AMA, touching on topics from her favorite athletes and motivations to representing the United States as an athlete and the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans. 


@jey1642: Who was your motivation?

My motivation is all the young girls I get to mentor. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of role models that look like me, especially within sport. So today I can be an example for them, help them feel a little less alone and help them understand they can achieve anything. 


@a20gtx: What is it like to be a badass? You are an inspiration!

If anyone thinks of me in that way, I only take it as a compliment. That's not the goal but it's definitely flattering. 


@dad: Who is an athlete you look up to?

One of my favorites in track and field is Allyson Felix. Not only do I admire her career, but she has proved to women that you can have it all, both in terms of career and personal aspirations. 


@nnbizz6: How does it feel to stand on the podium with a gold medal?

One of the coolest feelings, it's hard to put into words. I thought about my journey. I often go back to my roots and my beginnings and it's so humbling. To be able to come from the streets of China and lose my leg the way I did and to grow up in an orphanage... I could have never dreamed that winning a medal was ever going to be part of my journey. I think back to when I was living out of my car or on my friend's couch. It's good to remember where you came from and all the people that helped you along the way.


@mjones175: How has the increase in Asian-targeted hate crimes impacted you?

A lot of people had no idea any of this was happening. For a large chunk of time over the past year mainstream media wasn't covering it. So many people don't realize the history of how we've treated Asians in this country. The acts that have been passed to keep us out, in particular women, and just the horrible atrocities that have happened to Asian people in America. It's the history that isn't taught in schools. I've been devastated and heartbroken by what's happening. I've had my own experiences here, I go somewhere and people ask, "Oh are you from Wuhan?" There are other places in China other than Wuhan. Even if you are from there that doesn't mean anything bad. I keep wanting to make an actual post about it in my feed, but every time I go to write something I'm at a loss for words and overwhelmed. Full of anger, sadness and brokenness. These feelings are a wonderful indication though that we are alive. Especially in a culture where our feelings are very oppressed. I've been encouraged by all the leaders that have spoken up. It can change the perception of our culture and our people. The way that people blame us for this virus is devastating.


@MagicSix: What is one piece of advice you would have for high school students?

When I look back at high school, I look back at the things I was overly worried about. Like how many friends do you have, how people perceive me. I think the advice is to not dwell on those things, dwell on the things that you have control over and what can determine your future. You spend all this time making decisions on what other people might think of, and they're most of the time not even thinking about you.


@nnemeziz123: Has anyone told you that you can’t do this or you can't do that and how did you respond?

That's been really my whole life. Every step along the way I've gotten that. I remember in 7th grade I had a teacher that told me I needed to know my limits. I remember being so devastated. That was great motivation for me. I don't do things from a place of bitterness or revenge; while I think that can maybe be a start, it can't sustain you over a long period of time. If anything, I just say thank you. WIthout that, I wouldn't be where I am today. 


@Perd_Hapleyy: What is your favorite aspect of the Paralympics?

The Olympics is a demonstration of what the human body is capable of achieving, and the Paralympics is a demonstration of what the human spirit is capable of achieving. To even be at the Paralympics, something out of the ordinary has had to happen in your life to be able to compete at that stage. I love seeing all different abilities and adaptations and seeing what people can do with certain losses. The fact they haven't allowed people to stop them from their goals is the coolest part of the Paralympics to me.


@SportFanBeast: What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

I live in San Diego, so I love going to the beach when I'm not training. Something super calming about being by the ocean and outside. Up until a few years ago, I wasn't able to go swimming in the ocean due to my prosthetic. So being able to stand now with two legs... it's something small, but it means so much.


@Jey1642: How has it been personally for you during the pandemic?

Like everyone else, it's been very challenging. A rollercoaster both emotionally and physically. Sustaining yourself, being on that grind for a whole year and not getting to compete was the hardest part. Mentally, the isolation and not being connected to people... that's part of the reason why I love what I do. Not having that was mentally really challenging for me. 


@SportFanBeast: If you could meet any person in the world who would it be?

Gemma Chan, she's an Asian actress. Also Ken Jeong followed me on Instagram the other day and I screamed I was so excited! I love the Masked Singer so that was really cool


@JaylenBrownFan: How does it feel to represent the United States on a global stage like you do?

No greater honor or privilege. It's the honor of a lifetime to represent your country. But I also am very proud that in a country where sports is king, and we don't see a lot of Asians in sports at a mainstream level, I'm very proud of that also. I hope I'm also giving inspiration to a generation of Asian-Americans kids who did not think sport was an avenue for them. 


@VL0NE: Do you eat mac n cheese with a spoon or a fork?

I actually don't eat mac and cheese because I'm lactose intolerant. I do eat sliced bananas with peanut butter with a fork, if that’s in the same ballpark.


@Steve_Perrault: What are your favorite pair of sneakers?

Who doesn't love a Jordan, right? The Bel-Air Jordans, I love those. I'm an Air Max girl, any Air Max, they're super comfortable. If I want to show a lot of drip, I'll go with the Js. If I'm not feeling so drippy, I'll usually go with the Air Max's. I prefer wearing a sneaker over high heels. Pairing a really cool sneaker with something high fashion, I love that. My go-to is the Air Max 270s. I will wear those almost every day. Picking out a sneaker with an outfit can be just as stressful as picking out what heels or dress shoes to wear with an outfit.


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