News From LIFE, Inc.

Paralympian Embraces Her Story of Scars and Survival

When Scout Basset, a girl who lost her right leg at 18 months, crossed the finish line in her first race at age 14, she knew she was going to be OK. She could see herself in terms of possibility instead of limitation. She would go back to her tiny northern Michigan town and stop trying to convince everyone she was just like everyone else. There would be no more hiding, no more flesh-toned prosthetics that weren’t falling anybody anyway. This finish line was a starting point. “I am never again going to be ashamed of my story, or where I came from,” she vowed.

Now 31, she stands 4-foot-9 and weighs 85 pounds, and she is the fastest American of her classification ever to run the 100 meters. It’s astonishing to see how fast she can power her body around the track as she trains at an Orlando High School. Her running blade – a $30,000+ per leg, does not include a knee joint, which reduces weight and increases speed but gives her gait a slight side-to-side motion. The 100 meters is an event so illogical for a person of her jstature it’s hard to come up with a comparison. Like a 150-pound man playing offensive tackle for the NFL.

Her life has been spent searching for belonging and identity. Running provided the belonging she sought. Running is her identity. She dislikes the way women with an amputation are viewed as a bodily imperfect. “It’s viewed as a deficiency. I want girls to see this,” she says of her  image from the Body Issue, “as something powerful, and beautiful and stunning. I want them to see the places you can go and things you can overcome through sport.” She holds one of her many running blades… “I want a girl in my position to look at this and say “This is badass, and I want one!”

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