Claressa Shields, star of T-Rex: Her Fight For Gold [premieres Tuesday, August 2 at 10pm on PBS; check local listings] is on her way to Rio to defend her 2012 Olympic Boxing Gold Medal. Get in her corner with 10 memorable T-Rex moments.
1. While her friends spent Friday nights partying, she logged long hours alone in the gym.
“On Fridays, nobody would be at the gym. It would just be me and [Coach] Jason. He wouldn’t never cancel practice because it was just me down here.”
2. She’s an ice cold tactician.
“She not going to be expecting me to jab with her.”
3. She’s not afraid of anyone.
“You would think after I got hit in the face a few times I [would be like] ‘Oh yeah, I’m done.’ But for the first year and a half, probably two years, I was just down here beating up guys. It was just something I liked to do. I like to train.”
4. She doesn’t forget to have a little fun.
“We laugh a lot. What’s wrong with that?”
5. She’s an ambassador for her sport.
“Respect me as bein’ a woman. Respect me as bein’ black. Respect me as bein’ an athlete who represented the United States – you know, that’s what it’s about.”
6. She celebrates in style.
“I’m 19. My life don’t end here. As long as I’m boxin’ I’m gonna be okay.”
7. She doesn’t pull punches, even outside the ring.
“If USA boxing don’t give me the money that I want, I’m goin’ pro. I deserve what the males got. I won a gold medal. There’s no way in the world that I shouldn’t get paid to stay amateur. It’s not about money. It’s just about getting what you deserve.”
8. She’ll make you smile.
“Just me bein’ with Rell lets me know that, shoot, that I’m a girl – you know, that I need love, I guess.”
9. She carries the weight of a nation on her shoulders.
“I know people been talking about pressure. You know, I finally feel it, but I’m not going to fold under pressure. Come to far to do that.”
10. She’s #ready4rio.
“When I die I just want somebody to say, ‘Claressa done this.'”