Karate Olympian Thanks God for His ‘Resurrected’ Chances
“I am not afraid of suffering,” says Catholic karate Olympian Tom Scott. “It will bring me closer to God if I let it.”
Just over a month before the Tokyo Olympics, karateka Tom Scott suffered the disappointment of a lifetime.
The 31-year-old Texan did not qualify for the Olympics, only barely missing what could be his one shot at the competition. Though 2021 is the first year karate is an Olympic sport, its status is still uncertain going forward.
Scott lamented the loss in an Instagram post, saying, “It’s a crazy feeling to have been that close, that many times. … If this doesn’t break me then I am pretty sure nothing will for the rest of my life.”
But he also leaned into the grace of God that his Catholic faith taught him to rely on. Despite his disappointment, he chose to trust that the loss was part of God’s plan.
“Therefore that is what this one was meant for,” he continued. “I refuse to live in jealousy and I will not give in to anger.”
The post concluded: “I am not afraid of suffering. It will bring me closer to God if I let it. That is very much still exciting enough for me.”
But then, everything turned around. One of the athletes who qualified ahead of him was disqualified on doping charges, and the spot was offered to Scott. He once again turned to God with thanksgiving, and joyfully announced the news in a July 4 Instagram post.
“Resurrection… is one of God’s preferred ways of telling great stories. He is the best author of all time and the creator of storytelling,” he wrote. “I have been called to the front. I am going to the Olympics. I have long prayed for increased dependence on God in all areas of my life. And while I felt so near to Him following defeat, His plans are great and beyond me. I could never have imagined a story with beginnings like this.”
Scott thanked God not only for the chance to fulfill his Olympic dream, but for how he drew him closer to himself by asking for trust and abandonment.
“I did not need this. What I mean is I made peace with pain and God reeled me in closer. The journey served its purpose. … If you include your Father in your journey you can expect great things! But you have to be curious and reach out first. He is there waiting I promise.”
Scott encouraged his fans to look for where God says yes or no in their own lives, and to trust that every answer is part of the plan.
When he’s not competing internationally, Scott teaches karate at the Academy of Classical Karate in Plano, Texas. He has a devotion to the patron of athletes, St. Sebastian, whom he discussed on Catholic Sports Radio in 2019.
In the same interview he said, “Sometimes I used to wonder, does Jesus care if I’m winning or losing or all this time that I’m spending on it?’ And it took time for me to realize that, yes it actually does. It pleases him to see his creation do something that they love to do, whatever it might be.”