Claressa Shields is on a mission. The 16-year-old Flint, Michigan native is one of just three women who snagged a spot on the U.S. women’s Olympic boxing team. It’s been over 100 years since women boxed in a demonstration at the Olympic games, and Shields’ eyes are firmly on the prize: winning a gold medal.

Dubbed the “16-Year-Old Sensation,” Shields recently shocked the amateur boxing world when she defeated two-time national champion Tika Hemingway and earned a spot on the U.S. women’s Olympic team.  Her next stop? China, where Shields and the U.S. team will compete in the Women’s World Boxing Championship which will determine who makes it to the Olympics.

In the meantime, Shields is representing her hometown of Flint, which is known for its high crime and poverty rate. And for many, she’s giving them hope.

“This will show them that, through all that, something good came out of Flint: Claressa Shields,” her coach Jason Crutchfield told NPR.

Shields is chronicling her journey to the 2012 London Olympics through the “Women Box” radio project on WNYC. Hearing her talk about her journey to reach her dreams is not only inspiring, but it’s a story that many of our young women need to hear.

Listen to Claressa Shields’ story and follow her journey on the Women Box website.

  • Carolyn Kielma

    Claressa! I am a high school teacher in Bristol, CT who teaches AVID – a class for students who want to go to college, but may need a little extra help getting there, since they are currently among a group that is underrepresented there. We are ROOTING for you and following your efforts! We are listening to you and cannot wait for you to CRUSH the opposition in China! You are an inspiration for us. Watching you makes us realize that we can achieve anything, with hard work and dedication. Good luck!