Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson
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Teen Contender

Boxing has been an Olympic sport since the time of the ancient Greeks. But for most of history, only men have taken part. In 2012, that changed. For the first time ever, women  stepped into the ring to compete at the  Summer Olympics in London. In the months leading up to the historic games, 24 of the United States’ best amateur women boxers fought for three spots on the Olympic team.

One of the contenders was 16 year old Claressa Shields, a junior at Northwestern High School in Flint, Michigan. Photojournalist Sue Jaye Johnson and Radio Diaries followed Claressa as she prepared for the Olympic trials.


Our Peabody winning story was a collaboration with WNYC’s Women Box, which is produced by Marianne McCune and Sue Jaye Johnson.

You can learn more about women boxers and hear their amazing stories at Women Box. See more of Sue Jaye Johnson’s work on female boxers in The New York Times Magazine.


And check out this audio slide show of Claressa, produced by Victor Lazaro and featuring photographs by Sue Jaye Johnson.

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