June 9, 2022
Donald Scott takes us through his progression as an athlete who dipped his toes in different events before truly mastering the triple jump at Eastern Michigan University. He is now a professional jumper for Adidas, a 2021 U.S. Olympian (7th at the Tokyo Olympics), six-time U.S. Champion and 2022 World Indoor Championship bronze medalist. His personal best of 17.43m puts him at No. 16 on the all-time list.
In this conversation with Jasmine Todd, he opens up about balancing being a professional athlete and a father. He also shares his experience with the U.S. foster care system that he experienced as a kid.
SHOW NOTES AND QUOTES:
On growing up within the foster care system and inspiring other kids and athletes:
– “My sisters and I were adopted by my aunt and uncle. We weren’t in the shelter for too long before they came and got us. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s hard down there with poverty and all that hard stuff. I was caught up in all this is type of stuff. To be moved from that to almost-middle-class, it was a big adjustment. Where I’m from, it’s basically African-Americans. My aunt and uncle are Caucasian. We had to battle that a little bit because we weren’t comfortable around Caucasians. We were always told this, this and yada, yada, yada. That was an adjustment but overall it was good for me and my sisters to finally be shown love and what it’s like to be in a stable household. Although my uncle moved out after a couple of years and it was just my aunt, it felt like home. It felt good. I started becoming active in sports, getting good grades and turning my life around. Blessed enough, that’s how I earned my scholarship to Eastern Michigan. If I never would’ve got adopted, I don’t know what I would be doing – probably locked up or something. My life has been a journey, a blessing and I just want to inspire people to set a goal and just chase it. Especially the people who come from where I come from. Most people get stuck down there. Most people don’t ever leave Florida. For me to be able to do that, family and people I grew up with being able to see all this stuff is good.”
On the challenges of being an unsponsored athlete before signing with Adidas:
– “Out of college, I was working at Family Dollar, Dick Sporting Goods and just trying to keep some money in my pocket while I trained. I just knew I shouldn’t be too worried because I knew what I had coming. It’s definitely stressful if you don’t have a contract in this sport, especially as a field eventer. We get no love.”
On what he would like to see improved within the sport:
– “I want to see younger jumpers. After the ones who are there now, you don’t really don’t see too many up-and-coming jumpers like that. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if it’s the coaches or not but I’d like to see some more jumpers out here. I’d also like to see more recognition to the field eventers for sure whether it’s at track meets or sponsorship-wise. Bring more respect to the field events. That’s major. Especially on TV! Who wants to sit there and watch somebody run 15 laps. It’s common sense but they’ve got their favorites. There definitely needs to be changes in this sport for sure all around – especially in the U.S. We need more support…There needs to be a whole new outlook on the sport – especially in the U.S. It sucks.”
Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.