Advertisement
Advertisement

Claressa Shields Receives a Hero's Welcome in Flint

By Sonari Glinton

Hundreds gathered in Flint, Mich., Tuesday, to celebrate the return home of Olympian Claressa Shields. At 17, Shields became the first U.S. woman ever — and the only American this summer — to win a gold medal in boxing.

In a rare moment of joy, Flint greeted the high school student with a marching band and a motorcycle escort.

Shields had spent a long day traveling and being stuck in airports. But this day, she was no ordinary traveler. The airline held a connecting flight for her. And when her plane landed at Bishop International Airport in Flint, she was greeted by a loud and enthusiastic welcome home.

Flint's Northwestern High School marching band got together — in the summertime, no less — to celebrate its classmate.

At the airport, it was hard to pick out the gold medalist, because she was surrounded by so many other 17-year-olds. Dozens of people were calling her name — and more often than not, she returned the greeting.

From the airport, Shields got into a limousine with a police escort, and traveled through town to the site where she learned to box.

If you drive the five miles through Flint that Shields' limo took, you can see the remains of what once was a thriving town. There are shuttered plants, and miles of vacant lots. The city of just over 100,000 has seen more than 40 murders just this year.

At the Berston Field House where Shields learned to box, everyone speaks of her triumph, and of the violence in Flint, including her coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield.

"It helps Flint out a lot," he says. "With what's going on in Flint, all this crazy stuff — I mean, this is some sanity. You know? It's some sanity. Especially out of a young person like that — other young kids killing each other. And I mean, she's done something good."

Crutchfield and other boxers from Flint gathered in the ring where Shields learned to box. Lonnie Stubbs is also a coach at Berston. And even days after her gold medal fight, Stubbs spoke through tears about Claressa Shields.

"Sometimes I just can't believe it, man. Young lady gold — the only young lady to bring back a gold medal — from the boys and the women. And then, being the first woman to ever get a gold medal in America. We ain't talkin' about Flint; we ain't talkin' about the state of Michigan — we talkin' about the United States."

After walking into the gym, Shields finally climbed into the ring, to cheers and chants of "USA, USA, USA." She showed off the footwork and punches that won her the gold.

Talking to reporters, Shields acknowledged how much her win meant not just to her, but to Flint.

With her gold medal, "I won Flint's hope," she said. "I kind of brung them together, you know? And I just made myself happy. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hadn't gotten the gold medal. Because I worked so hard, so I wanted nothing but gold."

In answering almost every question, Shields spoke about Flint and what the gold means to her hometown.

"People look at Flint as a bad place. But you know, whenever Flint decides to come together, we make a huge impact. So I feel that we should stay together. And then some of the violence would stop, and just drop all the stuff that's been going on."

Shields says she can already feel the pressure after returning to town.

"I know that everybody wants just a little piece of me," she says. "I'm just going to pray about it. I like for, when people see me, that they're happy to see me. But I don't want them all over me, like I'm Beyonce or something."

But Beyonce doesn't have to go to high school next month — and she doesn't have a gold medal.

Tags: Amateur Boxing image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tyrone Biggums! on 08-15-2012

She did real well. I was impressed with all 3 of the womens Gold Medallists, they stole the show for me

Comment by Weebler I on 08-15-2012

Well done to the girl, Olympic gold medallist at just 17

Comment by ShoulderRoll on 08-15-2012

[QUOTE=MARKBNLV;12428193]Congrats to her she put the whole mens team to shame.[/QUOTE] No doubt. She went out there and succeeded at the highest level. Flint is lucky to have her.

Comment by 4t1a on 08-14-2012

I am so proud of C. Shields. She demonstrated great boxing ability, skill and so much heart. It was amazing to watch her get serious from the opening bell of round 1 till the ending bell of round #4. You…

Comment by MARKBNLV on 08-14-2012

Congrats to her she put the whole mens team to shame.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (7)
Top Headlines Canelo's Manager To Critics: We're Back To Our Natural Weight! Kenny Porter Not Concerned With Layoff as Thurman Shot Nears Arum: Thurman-Porter is Good Fight, Hope it Gets Good Rating Thurman Reflects on His Long Journey, Lessons Along The Way Video: Jessie Vargas Talks Kell Brook, Thurman vs. Porter Photos/Weights: PBC on NBCSN - Justin DeLoach-Junior Castillo Photos: Mike Alvarado vs. Josh Torres, Korobov-Vera Weighin DiBella Breaks Down Thurman-Porter, Isn't Sure Who Wins Povetkin, Ryabinsky To Hold Meeting With WBC Next Week Liam Smith: I Will Shake Up The World When I Beat Canelo Groves Explains His Version of Events in Golovkin Sparring Tale Photos: Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter Ready For Barclays War Weights from Brooklyn: Porter Strips to 147, Thurman at 146 Liam Smith vs. Canelo Alvarez - Fight Poster Revealed Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith Finalized at 154, 9/17 on PPV Fury To Klitschko: I'm Hitler? You Stupid F***ing Ukrainian Pr*ck! Golden Boy VP Reacts To Arum, Insists Pacquiao vs. Broner is On! Video: Sky Sports Crew Discuss Klitschko vs. Fury Postponement Video: Joshua-Breazeale, Groves-Murray, Eubank-Doran Weighin Jason Sosa Drills Javier Fortuna in Eleventh, Grabs WBA Title Eubank Jr: I Didn't Want To Take Off Underwear, Scare Everyone Photos: Anthony Joshua, Dominic Breazeale Ready For Battle Felix Diaz-Levan Ghvamichava Tops PBC on FS1, July 12 Photo: Tyson Fury's Badly Bruised, Sprained Ankle Injury Felix Verdejo-Jose Felix Likely For October - If Pacquiao Returns Fury Rolls Ankle, July 9 Klitschko Rematch Postponed Thurman Warns: Stop Protecting Your Record Like Mayweather! Arum: Golovkin vs. Ramirez, We Have Deal in Principle For 2017 Groves Explains Boost With McGuigan as Murray Bout Nears Anthony Joshua Willing To Help Joe Joyce Learn, Keep Active Andy Vences: I Have To Be at My Best To Win UniMas Bout Video: Kenny Porter on Tactics For Keith Thurman, More Eubank Sr: No Way Does My Son Lose To Gennady Golovkin! Golovkin's Trainer: Kovalev Will Punish Ward, May Stop Him Keith Thurman: I Have a Burning Desire To Knock Porter Out! Video: Lou DiBella Discusses Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter Shawn Porter Smiles: "Special Things Happen in Brooklyn" Video: Arum Discusses Pacquiao vs. Lomachenko, More Porter: If Mayweather Returns, He's Coming For The WBA Belt WBA Officially Opens Up an Office in China
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement