TCU boasts an impressive list of alumni in a series of fields, from news anchors and American Idol stars to authors and politicians. Tom Scott adds Olympian-level athlete to the mix, and he hasn’t even graduated yet.
“I was definitely raised with my parents telling me to keep going to school,” Scott said. “Really everyone’s got their thing, you know, karate is definitely my thing.”
With more than 12 Karate-Do champion titles, Tom Scott’s career has spoken for itself.
At the age of 8, Scott was a curious athlete like many other children. That’s where the comparison between Scott and many other children ends.
“I just kind of tried out karate and stuck with it,” he said. “The people that were teaching me were instant heroes.”
Scott began to train daily after school and on the weekends. Scott is unique in that he continued with school. Many Olympic-level karate athletes quit school so they can train full time.
“I’m doing it, and it’s easy, to be honest,” he said. “Definitely manageable.”
During his junior career, between the ages of 14-18, Scott said he was average at his sport. To him, average included a bronze and silver medal at the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships.
By 17, it was clear that Scott had broken through “average.”
While many students were attending homecoming dances and enjoying the new freedom of driving, Scott was winning ESPN-televised karate championships like the U.S. Open. Still, Scott said he didn’t believe his career had “taken off” until this year.
In fall 2010, he went to his first World Karate Championship in Serbia. He won the U.S. Open, silvered at the Pan American Championships, made it to the semifinals at the Dutch Open and has won the North American Cup three years in a row. And that’s not the extent of his successes.
About a year ago, Adidas recognized Scott’s talent and offered him sponsorship.
“I get their equipment and their uniforms in turn for pictures and they can use those for billboards or magazines or whatever,” he said.
Now, anyone who buys Adidas karate gear in the United States gets a bumper sticker of Tom Scott. His face can be seen all throughout Adidas’ online shopping site.
Amidst all of his victories, Scott said his greatest success does not lie within his talents.
“Karate is like my biggest communicator with God,” he said. “Just the lessons he teaches me. He wants to show me what it means to work hard for something, and to not get it, and then to get it. Keeping in touch with God is the best thing that comes from karate for sure.”
Karate has yet to become an official sport in the Olympics, however there is an Olympic equivalent of karate championships offered at the Pan American Games. It is the second most prestigious sporting event in the world, second only to the Olympics, and includes nearly every country. Scott qualified to represent the U.S. at the Pan American Games by winning the North American Cup in Canada in summer 2011. The Pan American Games were in October in Mexico. Scott travelled with athletes like Michael Phelps and represented the U.S. in Karate-do.
“It’s gonna be an experience,” he said before the competition. “The competition is very talented and very tough.”
Despite his accomplishments, Scott said he would continue the life of a Horned Frog. A Horned Frog who trains three times throughout a day and on weekends and still manages a criminal justice major and social life.
“It seems like now I’ve got it so well figured out…it doesn’t tax on me at all,” he said. “I still make the grades I want, I still have the social life I want, life is good right now.”
Scott will graduate May 2012 and hopes to continue his Karate career for as long as possible. Considering that most karate athletes reach their peak a few years senior of Scott’s age, he’s probably right when he says his future is “lookin’ good.”