The Olympics will be over tonight, but that doesn’t mean the remaining athletes weren’t giving it their all today.
Middleweight boxer Claressa Shields made history earlier today by winning her second straight gold medal in a bout against Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands. Shields, who is only 21, is the only U.S. boxer to win two gold medals in a row; she earned her first at the age of 17 during the London 2012 Games, when she defeated Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova. One big frustration the first time around was that the history-making win didn’t bring in the sort of sponsorship deals a professional athlete needs to pay their bills.
Shields told NPR, “Everybody was saying, ‘You should be signed with Nike, you should be on a Wheaties box, how come you aren’t in this magazine?’ It got to the point where I just shut everybody out. I can’t hear that anymore. I really can’t dwell on what I didn’t get.”
Right after the bout, she told NBC her strategy was “just to be smart, use my jab, and land the right hand when I could, and not get touched by those long arms she had, and I did it!” The video is great; you can see the realization hit as the NBC reporter continues to talk. She begins mouthing, “Oh my God,” and looking surprised and thrilled. “I wanted to let it be known that I’m not just a great female boxer, but I’m one of the great boxers to ever live. I’m the first American to be a two-time Olympic gold medalist, oh my God!”
Shields has some pretty high-profile fans. Here’s hoping this win brings the Flint, Michigan, native a few cereal box covers of her own.