Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Q: Who are you rooting for in the Olympics?

Claressa in the ring

Claressa in the ring. (Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson)

A: Claressa Shields!

At Radio Diaries we are throwing away all pretense of journalistic objectivity.

17-year-old Claressa is the subject of Teen Contender, our documentary that aired on NPR in February. With Sue Jaye Johnson, Radio Diaries gave Claressa a tape recorder to chronicle her journey to the first-ever USA Women’s Olympic boxing team. In London, Claressa is going for the gold. For her latest results, go to WNYC’s Women Box.

Women will be boxing in the Olympics for the first time in history. Initially, the Amateur International Boxing Association wanted the women to wear skirts rather than shorts in the ring, supposedly to differentiate them from the men. Here’s what Claressa had to say:

“I really didn’t understand that,” Claressa told a reporter from the Washington Post. “We got different names! Women got breasts! We got butts! Can’t you tell which one is who?”

Claressa Shields and her coach

Claressa Shields and her coach Jason Crutchfield. (Photo: Sue Jaye Johnson)

Claressa’s stats:
Age: 17
Height: 5’10
Weight: 165
Weight Class: Middleweight
Hometown: Flint, MI

Her fight schedule:
Mon, Aug 06 10:30 AM EST Quarterfinals
Wed, Aug 08, 9:30 AM EST  Semifinals
Thur, Aug 09 12:00 PM EST Finals

Claressa’s second fight, on August 8, will be against her archrival, British boxer Savannah Marshall, the only woman who has ever beaten her.  Claressa said losing “felt like having your boyfriend break up with you on your birthday”…and she won’t let it happen again.

To hear more from Claressa, listen to the latest Radio Diaries podcast and watch this audio slideshow. Meet all the women contenders in a one-hour WNYC/PRX radio special: Go For It: Life Lessons From Girl Boxers co-hosted by WNYC’s Marianne McCune and actress Rosie Perez. And of course, tune in to the Olympics to see Claressa in the ring!

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