5 Things You May Not Know About Paralympic Athlete and Commentator Scout Bassett

Getty | Mike Hewitt

Two-time World Championship medalist Scout Bassett arrived in Tokyo with hopes of competing in her second Paralympic Games. But after suffering an injury just before the Paralympic Trials, and arriving at the Games still plagued with uncertainty, competing for a medal simply wasn't in the cards this time. "One face you will not see competing in Tokyo is my own . . . I am proud that we fought and battled, but ultimately we fell short this time around," Bassett wrote on Instagram in late August, before adding: "My story as an athlete is not over. I'm using this experience to drive and fuel me even further next year and beyond."

Despite her disappointment, Bassett has transitioned effortlessly from competitor to NBC commentator during these Games. In an essay for POPSUGAR, Bassett credited her difficult childhood — as a baby, she lost her right leg in a chemical fire and later lived in a government-run orphanage in Nanjing, China, for seven years — for giving her "a grit that propels me forward," both as an athlete and an advocate for the Asian-American and disabled communities. "Asians are largely underrepresented in the media and in mainstream sports, and I hope that as a Paralympian and an athlete, I can help inspire a generation of young Asian-Americans to dream big," she said.

Whether on the track or in front of the camera, Bassett is doing just that. Curious to know more about one of the most prominent faces of the Paralympic Games? Keep reading.

She Enjoys the Process More Than the Reward
Getty | David Berding / Stringer

She Enjoys the Process More Than the Reward

While being a world medalist and Paralympian looks impressive on her résumé, Bassett told Self that she feels best when she's "enjoying the process" and not "focusing so much on the outcome or the results." Everyone's process looks a little different, but for Bassett — who competes as a sprinter and long jumper — it includes practice five to six days a week, physical therapy, fueling her body, nightly Epsom salt baths, and facials.

"People love the rewards of what the outcome is, but they don't always enjoy the process," she said. "I know it sounds so superficial, but for me, when I take care of my body, my skin, my health, physically, mentally, emotionally — that's when I feel like I'm at my best."

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She Was Featured in ESPN's 2019 Body Issue

In 2019, Bassett opened up to fans on social media about her reluctance to be featured in ESPN's Body Issue, explaining that she wasn't sure how she felt about "sharing my story and exposing parts of me that I haven't always embraced."

"Part of what makes healing so difficult isn't the recovery of the physical wounds, it's the deep ache left behind after the trauma. The accident. The loss. The discovery. The fallout. The Nos," she wrote. In the end, Bassett realized "our deepest pain and darkest of tunnels may be our greatest gift to serve and love others," and she graced the issue in pursuit of exactly that.

She Has Her Own American Girl Doll

This June, Bassett announced that she'd officially be joining American Girl Doll's Team USA launch, making her one of several women athletes to get their very own doll. "No matter what makes us different, we all need someone encouraging us to boss up and dream big," she wrote on Instagram. "So thankful to @americangirlbrand for collaborating with us on this special project and sharing our belief that all girls should feel seen, valued and inspired to stay in sports."

She Didn't Know How to Swim or Ride a Bike Before Her First Triathlon
Getty | Christian Petersen

She Didn't Know How to Swim or Ride a Bike Before Her First Triathlon

During her senior year of high school, Bassett knew she needed to pick up a sport or active hobby if she wanted to stay fit and healthy at college. Little did she know that she — a young woman who didn't know how to swim or ride a bike at the time — would be competing in her very first triathlon just a few months later. It only seems kismet that her first race was the UCLA Iron Bruin Triathlon, hosted by the college she'd be attending that fall. Bassett went on to compete as a triathlete at the international level from 2007 to 2011.

The Crying Laughing Face Is Her Favorite Emoji

In her American Girl Doll promo video, Bassett revealed she prefers to spend her off-days at the beach — we would, too, if we lived in sunny southern California! — and her favorite emoji is the crying laughing face. "I use it all the time," she laughed while sporting a big smile.