Claressa Shields Makes History as First American Boxer to Win Back-to-Back Gold: 'I Feel Like I'm Dreaming Right Now'
Claressa Shields celebrate winning gold by whipping out her first gold medal from her 2012 London Games victory
Claressa Shields is the first American boxer to capture two Olympic gold medals consecutively.
The 21-year-old boxer made history on Sunday in Rio when she beat out the Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn by unanimous decision, defending her London 2012 title – and becoming the first American boxer, man or woman, to win two Olympic gold medals in the process.
“I feel like I’m dreaming right now, somebody pinch me,” Shields said after the fight, according to NPR. “You know, not everybody can be an Olympic gold medalist. I’m a two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that.”
Shields came out swinging, hitting Fontijn with a hook in the first round and landing a dangerous punch in the second round.
“I just wanted to win the first two rounds clear, that’s all I wanted,” she said, according to NPR.
The Flint, Michigan, native celebrated winning gold with a cartwheel in the ring, Time reports. And she reportedly pulled out her London Olympics gold as she posed for pictures with her new medal.
“That moment when you get your second GOLD MEDAL so naturally you pull the first out of your pocket! #CallHerTwoTime,” USA Boxing, the national governing body of the amateur sport, captioned an Instagram photo of Shields holding the medals.
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Shields’ story is one of triumph.
She bounced between nearly a dozen homes by the time she was 12, escaping poverty and overcoming adversity to win gold at the 2012 games in London, according to USA Today reports.
She did not see fame and fortune after winning gold four years ago, and she and her family struggled to pay bills. But boxing has long been a staple in her life.
“If I wasn’t a boxer, I wouldn’t have the same vision that I have now for my life,” she told ESPN. “Life can actually be good if you make it good.”