Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

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 Denys Berinchyk Secures KO Win To Capture WBO Regional Belt Tom Schwarz Back on February 3, Dominic Boesel Returns on 3/3 McGregor Rules Out Pacquiao, Says Return To MMA is Next Saunders vs. Lemieux - CompuBox Historical Review Damon Allen Outboxes Martin Honorio in Quebec, Canada Jessie Vargas: I Want Thurman, Spence-Peterson Winner or Garcia Frank Warren: Saunders Can Send a Message To Canelo, GGG Billy Joe Saunders-David Lemieux: Pre-Fight Report Card Demetrius Andrade Will Be Ringside To Scout Saunders, Lemieux Saunders Unfazed by First Pro Bout Outside UK, Judging in Canada Lemieux to Saunders: Will Be Blood, Big Punches Saturday Night Hopkins: Rigondeaux is 90% Done, May Quit Again in Future Daily Bread Mailbag: Spence, Cotto, Golovkin-Charlo, More Frank Warren on DeGale's Loss, Selby Win, Corcoran, Frampton John Molina: I Had To Dig Deep, Can't Lose With Family at Ringside Fury: What Will Critics Says When I Make Joshua Look Like a Child? Bernstein: Mikey Garcia vs. Lomachenko Can Become Special Fight Golden Boy's Diaz Willing To Make Morales-Zenunaj Rematch The Argument For (And Against) Lomachenko Being #1 P4P Jessie Vargas Drops, Dominates Aaron Herrera For Easy Win Horn Admits Interest in Facing Mundine Before Crawford Jamal James Crushes Diego Chaves With Body Shot Knockout John Molina Gets Off The Floor, Drills Ivan Redkach in Epic Slugfest Omotoso Overcomes Slow Start, Out-Points Freddy Hernandez Danny Garcia-Brandon Rios, Benavidez-Gavril II Eyed For 2/17 Video: Bernard Hopkins on Loma-Rigo, Wilder-Joshua, More Video: Tyson Fury Talks Loma, Wilder, Joshua, More Saunders: I'm in Lemieux's Head, I'll Break His Heart! Horn: Very Few Picked Me To Beat Pacquiao, I'll Beat Crawford Too! Tyson Fury Moves Trainers: Leaves Uncle Peter, Hires Davison Lemieux Laughs: Saunders Can KO Me? Maybe With a Baseball Bat! WBA Confirm: Povetkin is Now The Mandatory To Joshua Photos: Douglas vs. O'Sullivan, Seldin vs. Ulysse - Weigh-In Photos: Saunders, Lemieux - Nearly Erupt With Heated Weigh-In Alexander Povetkin Dominates Hammer - In Line For Joshua, Parker Jessie Vargas Eyes Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Ali Rematch Horn Promoter: Crawford Can't Sell, He's Not a Big Money Fight! Saunders: Lemieux Has Been Knocking Out Bums and Old Men Yvan Mendy Breaks Down, Stops Jesus Arevalo in Eight Saunders, Trainer Demand Lemieux Gets on Scale Twice at Weigh-In
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement