Susannah Scaroni’s family and friends will be watching her from Judith Basin
Thursday, August 26, 2021

Team USA Paralympic Athlete Susannah Scaroni has travelled across the world to compete. Shown here, she is at the 2019 World Paralympics Championships in Dubai. She is currently in Tokyo, Japan, and will compete in her first race on Friday. For the first time, NBC is dedicating many hours of prime time coverage of the events. Photo courtesy of Susannah Scaroni


At the River Front Park in Spokane, sisters Rose Antioch and Paralympic Athlete Susannah Scaroni spend family time with Rose and Justin Antonich’s children, who are Susannah’s nieces and nephews. Rose and Susannah grew up near Spokane, in Tekoa, Wash. Their parents are Warren and Barbara Scaroni. Shown here (from left) are Collin Antonich, Rose Antonich, Dani Antonich, Warren Antonich (above), Susannah Scaroni (below Warren) and Sophia Antonich. Photo courtesy of Rose Antonich

For the next several days, 10-K Wheelchair World Record Holder Susannah Scaroni will race morning and night at the Paralympic games in Tokyo, which started August 24. For the first time, NBC is broadcasting three primetime coverage windows as well as showcasing the backstories of these athletes.

Scaroni, who has family ties in Stanford, is excited.

“If more people can see themselves represented, and others gain exposure to highly functional people with disabilities, then more people with disabilities will be inspired to stretch to what they may have dreamed was possible for them. It’s so wonderful,” she said.

One of millions of families watching these events will be Justin and Rose Antonich and their five children. Scaroni is Rose’s younger sister and Justin’s sister-in-law.

“The Antonichs are, as I’ve always believed, important witnesses to God’s love and Christ’s way,” said Scaroni. “I’ve experienced the selfless love they embody and have truly been lifted up by it for all of my life, beginning with Rose as the most incredible sister, and it has grown with the wonderful addition of Justin and their amazing kids. I’m so happy to have been blessed with them for my family, friends and role models.”

Regarding the rigor ahead of her, as a world-recognized athlete, Scaroni is accustomed to competing at events with more than one race in one day.

“I compete at an international competition in Switzerland almost every year and it encompasses a lot of racing. Therefore, I feel pretty comfortable with the schedule,” Scaroni said.

Her events are spaced out enough to enable adequate rest.

“I’m excited to race,” Scaroni told the Judith Basin Press. “These games are different than any because we really haven’t seen people in over two years, and that means there should be a lot of cool surprises.”

Rose Antonich has watched and admired her sister’s strength for decades following a car accident on black ice that permanently took Susannah’s ability to walk when she was five years old.

Rather than walk, Susannah Scaroni learned how to glide with tremendous speed.

“I’ve been blessed to meet [diverse people], throughout my travels,[which] remind me that God’s love spans the entire spectrum of life,” Scaroni told the Judith Basin Press. “I am beyond grateful for the unique perspective each of us are given in order to help us come together in unity and love. I love Psalm 16:8, I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Through her rigorous training schedule, education, faith and mental acuity, Susannah Scaroni defines what is to be an athlete.

“To me, sport provides an opportunity to create tangible goals and then develop strategies to achieve them,” said Scaroni. “It puts you into an environment where you are consistently balancing discomfort with efficiency, attitude with drive and gratitude with determination. I love the array of personal growth that comes with facing the challenges of sport. Also, it is a special place that transcends age, gender, ethnicity and language—and ability level. It is a universal language, and I love that all are welcome to it.”

Track record

Susannah Scaroni, age 30, is a three-time Paralympian, competing in the 2012 Games in London, 2016 Games in Rio, and 2020 Games in Tokyo.

“I admire that she’s able to make it to the Paralympics,” said her nephew Collin, the second-eldest child of Justin and Rose Antonich. “I mean that just can’t be easy, can it?”

Scaroni is also a world champion with a full Wikipedia page dedicated to just a portion of her accomplishments.

Susannah Scaroni has also competed in numerous marathon competitions and is the American Women’s Marathon Record Holder for her 2019 win at Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota. Furthermore, in 2013 and 2014, Scaroni won the Los Angeles Marathon in the wheelchair division. In the Chicago Marathon, she finished in second place in 2012, third place in 2018 and in fourth place in 2019. In the London Marathon, Scaroni finished in third place in 2017 and in 2018, 4th place in 2014, fifth place in 2015, and seventh place in 2013 and 2016. She placed second in the Boston Marathon 2018, third in 2014, 2015, and 2017, and fourth place in 2016.

In the Tokyo Marathon, Scaroni finished in fifth place in 2018 and in third place in 2019. In the New York City Marathon, she finished in third place in 2019.

In addition to being a Paralympic athlete, Scaroni is a graduate student and research assistant at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is also where she trains.

“She never gives up,” said Susannah Scaroni’s nephew Warren, who was named after Susannah Scaroni’s and Rose Antonich’s father Warren. “She always tries for first.”

When faced with challenges Scaroni understands that the process of overcoming them is possibly more important than overcoming them in itself.

“I have realized how important it is to face challenges with the mindset of overcoming them. What I’ve learned, is that the process of learning how to accomplish them is often more valuable than the goal or outcome. So, my strategy is to break things down into more digestible and smaller steps—then it’s one step at a time,” said Scaroni.

She inspires her nieces through this mindset.

“She’s really good with her wheelchair, and she is intelligent and inspirational. I am really excited for her,” said her niece Danielle Antonich.

Another niece, Sophia Antonich, agreed, “It’s great being related to one of the best in the world.”

Scaroni appreciates that these young minds are able to learn from her.

“Many of the skills you gain and lessons you learn from the task of learning something new will serve you for the rest of your life,” Scaroni said.

Scaroni’s Paralympic Schedule

Friday morning, Aug. 27: 5000-meter prelim

Saturday morning, Aug. 28: 5000-meter Final

Sunday morning, Aug. 29: 800-meter prelim

Sunday evening, Aug. 29: 800-meter Final

Monday evening, Aug. 30: 1500-meter prelim

Tuesday evening, Aug. 31: 1500-meter Final

Sunday morning, Sep. 5: Marathon final