“Yas, girl, yasssss.” That is actually what came out of my
mouth when I heard Claressa
Shields declare herself the best fighter at the Olympics, male or female — because Shields’
incredible confidence in herself and her boxing ability is super inspiring.
Not only is she confident enough in herself to declare herself the best fighter
among literally a world of amazing fighters, she’s making a pretty big
statement by not limiting her talent to just fighters of the same gender.
The moment came, according to Yahoo!, "thirty minutes after she opened her bid to repeat as Olympic gold medalist with a one-sided victory." Shields was speaking to a reporter who, in the midst of a question, said, "if you get the gold medal..."
Shields stopped the journalist with only three words. "If? I'm sorry?" Boom, mic drop.
Let’s just take a minute to appreciate what exactly Shields is saying here, because it’s not only inspiring, it’s also pushing forward a pretty powerful message. It’s a topic that has been at the forefront of sports these days: the fact that male athletes are often called “the best” at what they do, but, when it comes to female athletes, their titles are too often qualified by their gender. So while male athletes get to be called the soccer player with the most attempts on goal in a single game, for example, female athletes are called the female soccer player with the most attempts on goal in a single game, and this is a huge deal. The assumption in the title for the male athletes is that male athletes are the universal. As for women? They’re just a lesser version of their male counterparts.
See where the problem lies?
So this is why it’s so unbelievably awesome and inspiring that Shields took it upon herself to say, No way. Not gonna play that game. I’m the best fighter at the Olympics, and no gendered qualifier is going to change that.
Inspiring, right? Totally incredible, no?
But is it any wonder that a fighter who told her coach to let her fight the guys when he reportedly told her to “take it easy” on the girls is declaring herself equal to her male counterparts? Probably not. And it’s certainly not surprising, after a statement like that, that Shields considers her main competition to be a male fighter on her team: Shakur Stevenson.
You have to hand it to the girl. She’s got major confidence, and that is something we should all be inspired by.