Published on May 28, 2016
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Director: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper
Cast: Claressa Shields
T-Rex is an intimate coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. For the first time, Women’s Boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for the gold from the U.S. is Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, the youngest competitor at just 17 years old. From the hard knock streets of Flint, Michigan, Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring. She protects her family at any cost, even when their instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream.
The one stabilizing force in her life, coach Jason Crutchfield, has trained her since she was just a scrawny 11-year-old hanging out at his gym. Jason always wanted a champion, he just never thought it’d be a girl. Her relationships with her coach and her family grow tense as she gets closer to her dream. Claressa desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.
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Claressa Shields (born March 17, 1995) is an American boxer. In August 2012 she became the first U.S. woman to win a boxing gold medal at the London Olympic games. She won the Olympic middleweight title by defeating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova.
In May 2012, Shields qualified to compete at the 2012 Olympics, the first year that women’s boxing was an Olympic event. She was the youngest boxer at the February 2012 U.S. Olympic trials, where she won the 165-pound weight class.
In March 2016, she qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Shields was born and raised in Flint, Michigan, where she wais a high school junior in May 2012. She was introduced to boxing by her father, Bo Shields, who had boxed in underground leagues. Bo was in prison from the time Shields was two years old, and released when she was nine. After his release he talked to her about boxer Laila Ali, piquing her interest in the sport, although Bo nevertheless believed that boxing was a men’s sport and refused to allow Shields to pursue it until she was eleven. At that time she began boxing at Berston Field House in Flint, where she met her coach and trainer, Jason Crutchfield. Shields credits her grandmother with encouraging her to not accept restrictions based on her gender.
After winning two Junior Olympic championships Shields competed in her first open-division tournament, the National Police Athletic League Championships 2011; she won the middleweight title and was named top overall fighter as well as qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials. At the trials in she defeated the reigning national champion, Franchon Crews, the 2010 world champion, Andrecia Wasson, and Pittsburgh’s Tika Hemingway to win the middleweight class. In April 2011, she won her weight class at the Women’s Elite Continental Championships in Cornwall, Ontario against three-time defending world champion Mary Spencer of Canada; she held an undefeated record of 25 wins and 0 losses at that point.
Following Shields’ victory at the U.S. Olympic trials, it was initially reported that she would need only a top-8 finish at the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, China, in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. On May 10, the day after the contest began but before Shields’ first bout, a change to the rules was announced that meant Shields would need to place in the top two from the Americas. Shields won her first round, but suffered an upset loss in the second round on May 13 to Savannah Marshall of England, bringing Shields’ record to 26-1. Her chances for qualification thus depended on Marshall’s subsequent performance; after Marshall advanced to the middleweight finals on May 18, it was announced that Shields had earned an Olympic berth. She won a gold medal in the end, after beating Russian boxer Nadezda Torlopova 19–12.
In 2014, Shields won the World Championships.
In 2015, Shields became the first American to win titles in women’s boxing at the Olympics and Pan American games.
In 2016, Shields won gold at 2016 Americas Qualifier in Argentina.[2