Women’s Boxing: One year to go till Olympic Glory!
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t like boxing. My boxing hero was Mohammad Ali — and I have vivid memories of watching his fights on television, not to mention his running diatribes with Howard Cosell. And sure, that was all “back in the day” — but that was also history unfolding from Ali’s decision to embrace Islam on through refusing induction in the Army. What resonated was Ali smiling for the camera and saying, “I’m so pretty.” Those were powerful words for a boxer and a black man in America at that time — and frankly any time — upending notions of beauty, the ferosity of the ring, and the notion that there were limits on how high a human being could soar.
What I found was inspiration. I wanted to be him. Not so much as a boxer per se, but as a person that could take life and make it my own as an act of courage.
In thinking about the young women working their hearts out in the ring in preparation for next summer’s Olympics, I think of Ali. As a young 18 year old, he won Gold as a light heavyweight in the Rome Olympics and by the age of 28 had became an iconic figure in American history. “The Greatest” changed the world.
The future Olympians who ply the boards through countless hours of hard work in the gym show feats of courage every time they step into the ring — and while they may not be as earth shattering as Ali, those acts of hard work are no less important to the scheme of things, not to mention that we don’t yet know just where any of these women will end up in the years to come.
Given that we’ve hit the one year mark — the main stream press has started to focus in on these women and their ambition, and as a salute to our future Olympic heros, here’s a smattering from around the web.
Queen Underwood (USA) – USA Today has a piece out entitled Queen Underwood chases glory in the boxing ring that talks about Queen’s dreams of winning Olympic gold.
Mary Kom (India) – Called “Magnificent Mary”, Kom is a five-time gold medal winner who is currently training with the Indian men’s team in pursuit of Olympic gold as noted in the Times of India article, Mary Kom trains with men’s team’s foreign coach.
Katie Taylor (Ireland) – Talk about courage in the ring, Katie Taylor is a fearless competitor having just won her 38th victory in a row with her gold medal victory in the European Union championships. She is also an iconic figure of brilliance in action in her native Ireland as the Irish Times piece ‘Perfect fight’ ends with European Title attests.
There are countless other Olympic hopefuls with countless other dreams of rising to the podium — and what we can do is support those dreams with our unwavering passion for the sport we love.
I met you at Margaret’s site. You left a comment about “There were no mirrors in My Nana’s House.” This is my all-time favorite Sweet Honey in the Rock song.
I know next to nothing about boxing, but I’m here, reading your site expanding my brain and my world. Thank you for your writing and for letting me see women and boxing from a whole new light. I had never thought about these things in this way. This is why I adore the exchange of ideas blogging brings. I am enlightened by your words and my world expands.
Thank you for your very kind words. “There were no mirrors in my Nana’s house” is my favorite song from Sweet Honey in the Rock too. More than uplifting it seems to paint an entire world that encompasses passion and imagination.
Boxing holds out similar possibilities to me. For women in particular, the parameters of the sport seem to take on additional meanings, wherein each woman who approaches it has to do so consciously, much as women who embrace other martial arts and even athleticism that falls outside of the boundaries of what is viewed as normative. I came to this late in my life having eschewed all sports, running, aerobics and so on with a Manhattanite’s effete dismissal, but did I ever miss out! Having come to it now, I love sharing the complexities of the personal saga, as well as putting out small brush strokes that like quick sketches give the sense of what women’s boxing is all about as a global experience.
I really appreciate what you’ve written and love forward to exploring your blog — http://www.alterspaces.com.
All the Best!!!
Yay, we do love Katie Taylor over here. Women’s boxing has grown immensely since she became more well-known, hope it all goes well. And Mary Kom is another favourite of mine, so much heart
I think Katie Taylor is phenomenal, as an athlete certainly, but more importantly in terms of how she carries herself as role model and trail blazer. As for Mary Kom, all I can say is wow! She a sterling athlete, mother and bares the weight of a nation on her small frame.
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