From Flint to Rio: Boxer Claressa Shields is on her way to making history
When it comes to Olympic gold medals in boxing: George Foreman won one. Joe Frazier won one. Muhammad Ali won one. But Olympic boxer and Flint native, Claressa Shields, could be the first American boxer — male or female — to ever win two Olympic gold medals.
The Middleweight boxer already took home a gold in London. In Rio, she’s hoping for a second. Shields tells me, “I’m going to be the first American to win two Olympic gold medals back to back. So I’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
Her coach, Jason Crutchfield, could see her talent and would become like a second father to her. “We used to go to tournaments, and I would have everybody pitch in and buy her lunch or buy her food. If I didn’t have the money, I’d have everybody else pitch in, all the rest of the boxers pitch in and buy her food,” says Crutchfield.
By 2012, when women’s boxing became an Olympic sport for the first time, she won gold in London and instantly became a hometown hero, arriving back in Flint to major fanfare.
“I just think that everybody was just inspired,” says Shields. “It was a week of no murders or anything in Flint because everybody was so occupied on ‘When is Claressa fighting? What is she doing?’”
Back in Flint, her childhood neighbor Gerald Benson is just as confident as Shields is. “She ain’t gonna have no problem. Champ. She’s the champ.”
Since 2012, life has changed. Shields is going into Rio with two World Championship titles, multiple endorsement deals and a documentary on her life set to air on PBS on Aug. 2.
Watch our complete interview on Yahoo News.