Meet T-Rex, the 17-Year-Old Girl Boxer Headed to the Olympics

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"It didn't take much for any of us to know that Claressa was unique," Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari, and Sue Jaye Johnson explain on their Kickstarter page, where they are funding a film about the rising star. Claressa Shields, aka "T-Rex," is the youngest female boxer competing at the 2012 Olympics, which will feature women's boxing for the first time in history. 

The film will follow the teenager from her home turf, Flint, Michigan, to the games in London: 

This last year has been anything but normal for Claressa. She turned 17 years old. She finished her junior year of high school. She lived in four different houses. She was named "Most Outstanding Boxer" at the Olympic Trials. She flew on a plane for the first time in her life. She beat the number one ranked female middleweight boxer in the world. She became a member of the USA Boxing team. She finally moved in with her coach and his family. In August, she'll be the youngest woman to ever box in the Olympics. And then in September, gold medal or not, she'll be back, sitting in first period, at Northwestern High School in Flint.

The team is sharing updates from the road with backers on Kickstarter, including the trailer, above, and a behind-the-scenes clip, below, in which Shields turns the camera on the three filmmakers so they can share how they got into the project in the first place.   

 

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Cooper and Canepari made a name for themselves with their lush documentary series, California Is a Place, which we featured on the Atlantic Video channel when we launched a year ago. They hope to fund T-Rex by August 4.

The Atlantic profiles Marlen Esparza, another female boxer representing the U.S. at the Olympics, in Irina Aleksander's "American Sweetheart." 

For more information about the film, visit the Kickstarter page.

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