SHE BANGS! WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW CLARESSA 'T REX' SHIELDS
Simone Biles, Michelle Carter, Gabby Douglas, Simone Manuel, Caster Semenya, and Claressa Shields are all names we heard on repeat during the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, all women, all gold medalists, and all African-American. Some could say that these characteristics combined would result in renowned legacy, rewards, and overall superhero status. Something more sustainable than a few catchy headlines and 48 hrs. worth of social media memes.
Now that the curtain has closed on the 2-week long event in Rio, we can all go back to doing whatever we do during the four years until the next one, right? Not so fast.
These summer Games, while full of achievements and historic moments, were also riddled with issues around infrastructure, racism, classism, and of course sexism. Relentless online bullying towards athletes and skewed media commentary gained more attention than the tournament itself. Once you can sift through all the bullshit and bureaucracy you’ll discover that what lies beneath the rubbish are incredible stories about ordinary people with extraordinary gifts.
Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 21, is the only American boxer to ever win two gold medals in back-to-back Olympics. She picked up her first 4 years ago in the London Games, which were the first to include Women’s Boxing. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Shields confronted and overcame every obstacle she’d been faced with from extreme poverty to sexual abuse. As a boxer, she’s dealt with criticisms about everything from her hair style to her physique. After winning gold in 2012, Claressa was disappointed that she didn’t receive a single endorsement or resources to build her brand and further her career. Like all gold medalists, she was rewarded the standard $25,000 (before taxes) bonus from the US Olympic Committee. It’s no surprise that after providing support for her family in Flint, there wasn’t much left.
Through all of it, peaks and valleys, she remains unfuckwithable… “I don’t have to change for people to accept me…I don’t care what anyone thinks,” say Shields in "T-Rex" a newly released documentary based on her life as a boxer. Check out the trailer and full documentary here and let OTR know what you think. Stay inspired.