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 Klitschko2017 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 Christopher Diaz, Olympians Return on Top Rank Card, April 21 Muhammad Ali - New Film Getting Developed, To Drop in 2021 Sullivan Barrera vs. Paul Parker Finalized for HBO Latino, April 15 Bellew Admits He Was Terrified, Wrote a Will Before Haye Fight Joseph Parker vs. Hughie Fury Not Likely To Leave Auckland Daniel Dubois vs. David Howe Added To Manchester Card Crawford-Diaz Announced for 5/20 at MSG, Not Prudential Center Kosei Tanaka vs. Angel Acosta Finalized For May 20 in Nagoya Kell Brook vs. Errol Spence - Ticket Information Quigg vs. Simion Could Become Final Eliminator, Says Hearn Cause of Amateur's Death a Mystery as Investigation Continues Warren: Forget Flanagan-Crolla, Let’s Make Flanagan-Linares Amir Khan Eager to Test Out His Surgically Repaired Right Hand Spence's Trainer: Errol is Just as Big, Taller Than Kell Brook Scott Quigg Aims To Reclaim Elite Status With Freddie Roach Paul Butler: Jamie McDonnell Fight Is Close Marcus Morrison: I F***ed Up, Will Be Back Better Andy Lee Tired of "Biased" Commentary During Sky Sports Cards Mikey Garcia Feels Golovkin Made Mistake By Going To PPV Wladimir Klitschko: Guns Are Cocked, I Look Forward To Shooting Hearn: Joshua-Haye is Dead, Haye Needs Bellew Rematch Marriaga Confident of Win: Oscar Valdez is Not Out of This World Golovkin's Coach Has NO Issue With Jacobs Missing IBF Weigh-In De La Hoya Cautions: Canelo Can Not Lose To a Countryman Ricardo Mayorga Ready For Action, Has One Eye on Margarito Klitschko Would Want Farewell Fight at Olimpiyskiy in Ukraine De La Hoya To Mayweather: Forget McGregor, Fight Canelo at 160 DeGale: I Can Fight Gennady Golovkin at 160, Andre Ward at 175 Photos: Barthelemy-Blanco, Hernandez-Davis - Official Weigh-in Katie Taylor Wants Women's Boxing To Have Three Minute Rounds Linares: I'd Love To Face Mikey Garcia in Las Vegas, LA, Anywhere Michael Devine Announces Retirement From Boxing Ohara Davies: Mayweather Advised TMT Boxers To Avoid Me Javier Fortuna Extends Pact With Sampson Boxing Hasim Rahman Jr. Pro Debut Pushed Back To April 14 Jean Pascal To Nick Diaz: You Coward, Don't Talk Sh*t - Fight Me! Lemieux vs. Reyes, Diaz vs. Avila Added To Canelo-Chavez Saunders To Golovkin: If You Have a Pair of Balls, Sign The Contract! Team GB Release Four Fighters: Bateson, Cameron, Marshall, Davies Hearn: Crolla Should Get at Least 1 Million For Flanagan Bout
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement