Before the Tokyo Games, karate athlete Tom Scott was used to watching the Olympics from home. But with karate making its Olympic debut this summer, Scott has hopes to not only represent the United States in Tokyo, but bring home a gold medal to boot.
As part of our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, NBC Olympics sent questionnaires to a wide range of athletes to learn more about their lives on and off the field of play.
Here’s some of what we found out about Tom Scott:
Tell us about your family.
My parents Mark and Mary Scott live in Copper Canyon, Texas. They own and operate their own company, Product Handling Design, where they make and sell overhead cranes. When they are not running around town for their three children (and two grandchildren), they take care of their two horses and black lab Saint.
My older sister Erin and brother-in-law Jake Tenney are happily married with their two children Jasper and Luke. Erin is a physician's assistant in North Dallas.
My younger brother Chase just graduated college from SCAD in Savannah, Georgia. He is the musician in the family. Chase can play keyboards, bass, guitar, and even creates his own electronic music.
Parent influence on athletic career?
My parents have always been so supportive of my love for this sport. They have traveled the world for me and they've been there for me in the great moments and the tough times. When I was young, I can remember late night dinners at sonic with my mom after tough practices. We made a regular habit of Sonic runs on Fridays. They would be so willing to help share my story.
Who do you live with?
My wife Morgan and I love our apartment in Richardson, Texas. We met at Texas Christian University, where we were both facilitators for TCU's renown freshman competitive introductory camps. We actually met after we were the last people remaining chasing a goat to gain points for our small groups. Morgan is the love of my life. I could not do this without her support and love.
What is your job? Why do you do it?
I work in the karate school where I grew up in. My instructor and coach Brody Burns has really gone out of his way to provide an opportunity for me to make my dreams come true. I have a wonderful opportunity at the Academy of Classical Karate. While I teach karate classes and handle the marketing, Sensei Burns has also given me unlimited time to travel and compete.
How has your hometown shaped who you are today?
There is something about Texas. My wife and I have always talked about how we could never leave. Even without mountains or oceans, and despite the summer heat, we love the people here and sometimes like to get away to Lake Kiowa.
Earliest memory of karate?
My earliest memories in my sport involve road trips to Houston and Mississippi with my karate school's local team. When I was 10 years old, at the National Championships, I remember getting left behind at the hotel as the team left in the van after I went back up the elevators to look for everyone. They did come back to get me, and they've never let it go.
Specific breakthrough moment?
There have been so many moments that have given me hope. Medaling at the Pan American Games when I was 21 years old, becoming the continental champion at 22, and winning Karate1 Premier League events at 25, 26 and 27 have each given me a steady dose of continued belief in myself.
Biggest obstacle that you've overcome?
My biggest obstacle has always been myself. I have always had to overcome my own self doubt that something this great could happen to me. This is where I see that I would not have made it without the people in my life. This is just as much a story about the team behind Tom as it is about me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Fun fact: Despite tough workouts, sicknesses, and college, I have not thrown up in 15 years. Last time I did I was 14 years old on a family deep sea fishing trip. I guess it was so bad I swore it off.
What would you be doing if not an athlete?
In addition to being an athlete every day, I find great value in teaching every day. Even if I wasn't an athlete, I am sure I would still be teaching kids.
Advice you'd give a young karateka?
Have fun and learn your lessons. You have to learn to enjoy your sport and also adapt your game. Take one lesson away from every event and over the years you will have learned a lot! But you must be committed to the process.