Claressa Shields became the first American boxer to win two gold medals at the Olympics on Sunday, defeating Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands 3-0 in the women’s middleweight 75-kilogram division.
Afterward, an exuberant Shields was asked what statement she hoped to make by coming back and winning gold yet again at the Rio Olympics. The 21-year-old paused a moment, then replied.
“I wanted to let it be known that I’m not just a great female boxer, but I’m one of the great boxers to ever live,” Shields said. “I’m the first American to be a two-time Olympic gold medalist.”
With the comment, the Flint, Michigan, native struck a similar tone to that of Serena Williams at Wimbledon earlier this year. When asked how she felt about becoming one of the “greatest female athletes of all time” following a victory in the semifinals, Williams curtly replied, “I prefer the word ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.’”
Shields’ story is well-known in boxing circles. She grew up in poverty, moved around over and over again in her early years ― 11 homes in her first 12 years, by one count. At 21, she has solidified her place in the ring. The only question now is where she goes from here.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t know,” she said after her gold medal victory on Sunday. “Oh, thank you, Jesus!”
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