Scout Bassett will stand tall behind the Farmers Insurance Open luncheon podium with a message that will give many food for thought.
She will clear her throat, adjust the microphone to accommodate her 4-foot-9 body and dazzle the Women’s Day audience with her beaming smile and hard-to-swallow story.
Bassett will mention last year’s highlights of setting the 400-meter world record in the Paralympic T42 division and two American marks in the 100 and 200 meters.
“What I want people to know is that all of this comes from within,” she said.
Bassett is referencing her motivation which has been tested umpteen times. Despite obstacles that stretch longer than Bassett’s slight frame, she transformed herself into an elite athlete.
Bassett lost part of her right leg as a toddler, but she went on to shine at track meets worldwide. It’s hard to fathom the length Bassett, 29, has traveled in her life and that has little to do with her having been raised in a Chinese orphanage to living in Carmel Valley.
“This whole journey, my whole story has been in so many ways a fairy tale,” said Bassett, a UCLA graduate. “For me just to be able to look back and see how far I have come from the streets of Nanjing, China, to here is amazing.’’
Much is headed Bassett’s way. She’s the keynote speaker at the Farmers Women’s Day luncheon on Wednesday at Torrey Pines and then she’ll accept the Challenged Athlete Award from the Breitbard Hall of Champions on Feb. 1.
“I want people to know that no matter where you come from, or what you look like, or the trials you face in your life, there is nothing you can’t overcome and be triumphant at,” she said.
Bassett is relentless and that’s obvious during her workouts at Carlsbad’s Keen Gymnasium conducted by coach Roberto Wallace.
“She is an inspiration and motivation to many of us, including myself,” Wallace said. “Her work-ethic and positive attitude are contagious.’’
Bassett’s want-do demeanor — she didn’t learn to walk until she was 6 — has transformed her into a champion.
As a 7-year-old she was adopted by a Michigan family and they moved to California when she was a high school senior.
When arriving in the U.S., Bassett didn’t understand the language or culture. But she gravitated toward sports in ninth grade, despite her disability.
From first running on a crude, makeshift prosthetic she graduated to state-of-the-art equipment after being introduced to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The San Diego-based CAF has helped countless athletes — many in North County — by providing the know-how to get the idle moving. Bassett was so taken by its reach that she’s been a CAF spokesperson for a decade.
“The work that we do, the people that we see, the kids we are able to impact and mentor is special,” Bassett said. “We show them that all things are possible and provide the healing part of sports.”
Bassett’s competitive juices are always pushing her ahead. Her sights are set on the Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 — bet against her at your own risk.
It’s a safe wager that those meeting Bassett will be impressed.
Contact Jay Paris
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