Proud family, fans watch Flint native win gold

Jacob Carah
Special to The Detroit News

Flint — Hundreds of local fans, friends and family packed into historic Berston Field House to see Flint’s own, Claressa Shields, win Olympic gold again.

Shields beat Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands by unanimous decision for her second Olympic gold medal.

Shields is the first woman boxer to win gold and the first two-time American gold medalist since 1904. In fact Shields has not lost a fight since the last time she competed in the Olympics in London. The Flint native is the youngest Olympic boxing champion since 1924.

Fans attending the watch party on the city’s north side included her siblings Brianna Shields, 19, and Dusable Lewis, 18, and mother, Marcella Adams.

Adams, 44, said its wonderful to see the support for her daughter.

“When I see her I’m just going to tell her I love her, and I’m so proud of her,” Adams said. “There was no doubt she would make it this far because of how hard she worked for it.”

Adams was “breathless” when the referee raised her daughters arm in the air for the win, her second gold on the Olympic stage.

“If feels so, so good, and it’s because she deserves it, she fought for it.”

Brianna Shields was also proud of her sister and hopes she receives the respect in the sport that she deserves. “This feels like a new beginning,” she said. “Not only did she win gold before, now she’s done it again, she deserves to get what she’s worked for.”

Mayor Karen Weaver said Shields is an inspiration to young women in the city. “She is a role model for me and not just a role model for Flint, but for so many young women here in the city,” Weaver said. “She shows us how we can be strong, we can be disciplined and focused, and most importantly, never to give up on yourself.”

The mayor said she was happy to point out a bright glimmer to the city after the recent events regarding the Flint’s tap water. “We have got to shed light on the positive things going on in the city,” she said.

Weaver pounded her fist in her hand. “People don’t recognize that we have some great things going on and great people,” she said. “Claressa has shown the world that Flint is on the map for some wonderful things, and so much promise moving forward.”

Claressa’s brother, Dusable Lewis said he was confident she would win before the fight even began. “It means a lot, another great accomplishment and another gold for the U.S.”

“People like my sister, you know, she shows that no matter where you are from, if you want to do something, and you put your mind to it, you can do it, it doesn’t matter where you grew up, or where you’re from, you can achieve what you want.”

Flint Councilman Kerry Nelson said, “we are very proud of Claressa, I know her family is proud, but we as a city are very proud of her.”

“She trained here at Berston, putting in some very long hours, and we thank God for her and her achievements,” Nelson said.

Young fans and siblings Chelsea, 9, and Austin Bishop, 13, were excited for the win. “It was amazing,” Chelsea said. “I want to be a boxer like her,” she said. “I play basketball now but I think I want to try boxing.”

“Now I want to box too, because I’ve see every single one of her fights, and its just incredible,” Austin said. “She’s never quit, she’s never given up.”