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September 5th, 2011
10:19 AM ET

Human Factor: From orphan to triathlete

In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week we profile Scout Bassett, an amputee who went from living in a Chinese orphanage to competing in the 2012 Paratriathlon World Championships

The national championships are always an exciting and sometimes nerve-racking time. The title alone is enough to cause buzz.  Add in the Big Apple mystique and the event has a whole new dimension.

More paratriathletes race at the NYC Triathlon, host of the Paratriathlon National Championships, than any other triathlon in the U.S. Over the past five years, it’s incredible to see how far our sport has come and the tremendous growth that has transpired in paratriathlon.

Most years at nationals, I feel nervousness and even a bit of anxiety leading up to the race. However, this year was a different story. I felt much more relaxed and prepared – due in large part to a series of positive changes over the past 12 months. I linked up with an outstanding coach in Muddy Waters and physical trainer in Brad Bose. In addition, we assembled a great team of mentors and advisers and together, we devoted a tremendous amount of time towards becoming physically and mentally resilient.

Heading into New York, I was hit with a case of shin splints and tendinitis in my knee due to overtraining. You might say this is a rookie mistake, but five years into this sport, I am just learning that more in not always better!

I knew my injuries were going to make things interesting – especially on the run. Not surprisingly, the swim and bike were decent, but the wheels came off during the run. Because the NYC Triathlon is our only qualifier for World Champs, I knew I had to push myself through the pain in my knee and shin. Any other year, I might have contemplated pulling out before the race, but this year, the opportunity to compete at World Championships   in my homeland meant I needed to toe the start line and GO!

It wasn’t an outstanding performance, but I’m pleased that I was able to PR [set a personal record] by 11 minutes from last year – good enough for a silver medal. Getting to the start line is no easy feat, but deep appreciation goes out to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Össur, POACFL and my entire support team for making Nats possible this year. Y'all are the reason I do what I love!

Up next: World Champs in Beijing on September 9, 2011. This will mark my first return to China since I left the orphanage 16 years ago. Can you believe I will return and race in my homeland at the World Championships? This fairy tale story seems unreal, but yes dreams really do come true! I have spent years waiting and preparing for this day, but there are no words to explain what this trip will mean or the countless thoughts and emotions I will feel. I am grateful for this incredible opportunity, and looking forward to sharing this experience with you!


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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Whitney

    Wow, great story. A beautiful young woman and so inspiring. She hasn't let her past affect her future and now she it out there pursuing her goals. She is a role model for so many others. Good luck with all of your endeavors Scout!

    September 5, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Morgan

    Awesome, inspiring story! It is amazing what the human soul can do to overcome the impossible.

    September 5, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sammi

      Forget my previous exaainltpons and details!Actually, the only reason is that only '30 days had been analysed by me! With day 31 (with 1,084,027 hits!) the average number will totally change of course! Sarah Palin got public on August 29 (three days)!

      September 11, 2012 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
  3. Jersey Girl 118

    Amazing story of an inspiring athlete.

    September 5, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sara

    Best of luck at the World Champs, Scout! Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us.

    September 5, 2011 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Samuel (Sam) Getaneh Bogale Kathy Stumm-Bogale Calgary Alberta

    Truly an inspirational story! Keep up your incredible journey!

    January 31, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.