Donald Scott, Ypsilanti track and field assistant coach, hopes to bring home a gold medal after qualifying to triple jump at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Eastern Michigan University alumni qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on June 21 after making the top three and placing second in a triple jump competition in Eugene, Oregon, with a leap of 17.18 meters.
This is Scott’s first time qualifying for the Olympics at 29 years old, and he sees this as a big accomplishment for himself but knows that there is more work to be done.
“I just know that the job isn't done yet,” Scott said. “I have to go to the Olympics and try to win a medal, a gold medal at that.”
Scott was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and moved to Apopka, Florida, at the age of 13 after he and his sisters were adopted by his aunt and uncle.
Scott moved from Apopka to Ypsilanti, Michigan in 2010 after qualifying for a full-ride scholarship for football at EMU. In 2014, he stopped playing football to pursue track and field, receiving another full-ride scholarship and later graduating in 2015 with a criminal justice degree.
Since then, Scott has won five triple jump national championships between 2017 and 2020. He is also an Adidas Athlete, which means he represents the brand at competitions.
Recently, Scott became the assistant track and field coach at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti in 2020. As an assistant coach, he was allowed to utilize the facilities for his own training purposes, as well as garner more attention to the sport with his athletic status.
“With also me being there now, I hope to bring even more attention to the track program itself,” Scott said.
The Olympics begin July 23, but Scott will be competing on Aug. 3 and Aug. 5. Until then, he has been training five days a week to prepare, he said.
“It’s usually five days a week with some recovery days in between,” Scott said. “That's when I go to restore at the Wellness Center over at Ann Arbor and that's where they have, like oxygen chambers, cryotherapy, a red-light treatment, so I do a lot of recovery stuff there to keep my body healthy and prepared to compete at all times.”
Scott’s former EMU coach, associate head coach for track and field Sterling Roberts, is excited to see where Scott’s skills will take him.
“I’ve known Donald for eight years now, and he continues to amaze me,” Roberts said in an email. “Once he shifted his focus to track and field, his accomplishments and his rate of improvement was beyond all expectations… With his focus and determination, who knows how far he can go!”
Scott will be the 19th athlete to represent EMU at the Olympics, and he advises others with the same dream of going to the Olympics to keep their eyes on the prize and work hard.
“Stay dedicated throughout the ups and downs that you may have, and you will basically get to where you need to be,” Scott said.