Watch Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 11:30pm on WMHT-TV
Flint, a city made famous by Michael Moore's documentary Roger & Me, and more recently by the lead poisoning water crisis, has been hard-hit for years as factories closed, jobs left, and crime, unemployment, and poverty became endemic. It's the most unlikely and challenging of backgrounds for an Olympic athlete to make it through. But Claressa “T-Rex” Shields is as tough as they come.
T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold is the coming-of-age story of boxing phenom Claressa Shields, who was just 17 years old when she won the Olympic gold medal for women’s boxing in 2012. Now with a record of 69-1, she is ranked number one in the world heading into her second Olympic competition, the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games.
Shields was 13 years old when it was announced that women would for the very first time compete in boxing at the 2012 London Olympics. Although she’d only been boxing for two years, her coach, Jason Crutchfield, predicted she'd be there — and that she'd win gold. It seemed an audacious dream for Shields, whose prior aspirations included having ten kids by the time she was 26, and who grew up bouncing between homes while her father was in prison and her mother struggled with addiction. To accomplish her dream, she would need a stable life. Coach Jason and his family took her in, housed her, and kept her focused.
The film traces her rise as an Olympic athlete from the streets of Flint to the podium in London, and the subsequent challenges and disappointments as Claressa watches fellow athletes receive recognition and endorsements while none come forward to support her, raising questions about race, class, and gender bias. Agents suggest she should soften her image, but Claressa is her own person, ready to push the boundaries while fighting for another gold and a better life.