Claressa Shields made history on Sunday as the first American boxer, male or female, to take home two gold medals. The 21-year-old’s accomplishment is one for the books and she’s not shy about embracing her moment.
“People will never forget that I am the first American boxer to win two Olympic [gold] medals,” Shields said.
When Shields took the podium to receive her gold medal in Rio, she unzipped her jacket pocket and pulled out her previous medal.
“I worked so hard to get here,” she said. “Not everyone can be an Olympic gold medalist, period. To be able to say I’m a two-time Olympic gold medalist?”
Shields also spoke about growing up poor in Flint, Michigan, as the daughter of a former boxer. Her father spend much of her childhood in prison, and her mother struggled with drugs and alcohol. Still Shields overcame these painful experiences to make history.
“I have been through a lot in my life,” Shields admits. “But I want to inspire. I want to give people just a little bit of hope because I was one of those kids who didn’t have any hope.
“And when I had just a little bit, look how far I’ve been able to come. Your life is based on your decisions. I decided I wanted to be great.”