Claressa “T-Rex” Shields had all the odds against her and she still prevailed. The 17-year-old from the economically depressed city of Flint, Michigan, is the youngest female boxer competing in 2012 Summer Olympics and has pushed forward in the face of adversity, and sexism, but will faces an even bigger battle as she strives for a metal this summer.
For the first time in history, women’s boxing has been added to the lineup of sporting activities, and given her story, Shields has become the subject of a documentary, which will follow her journey to the London games.
Information posted on the Kickstar page run by the film’s funders, Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari, and Sue Jaye Johnson, revealed that Shields moved four different times last year, and was named Most Outstanding Boxer at the Olympic Trials. “Everything you read about her will mention the incredible set-up for the Olympics,” reads the intro on the website. “It’s the first time in 2000 years that women boxers will compete at the games and she’s the youngest of all of them. All of it is true. But that’s just the surface. Claressa is a complex, dynamic, and strong young woman with a complicated past.”
The high school student boasted a 26-0 record until suffering her first loss, on the road to qualifying for the London games. “When she lost for the first time in her life she prayed very hard,” said Johnson. “She emerged from that experience feeling like God was trying to send her a message. That she needed to experience a loss and not take anything for granted.”
Shields was introduced to the sport by her father, Bo, who was a boxer in underground leagues, but she’s not the only 17-year-old making headlines for career feats. Brooklyn swimmer Lia Neal has also been spotlighted for making it to this year’s Olympics.
Click below to watch the trailer, and view photos of Shields.
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Photo: Sue Johnson