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In and out of the ring, boxer Claressa Shields is a fighter. Now, she's headed for Rio.

"Boxing is for men, and it is about men and it is men. A celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for being lost.”

Joyce Carol Oates wrote that in her 1987 book, "On Boxing." Though she may change her tune after watching Claressa Shields in the ring.


Shields (right) in the 2012 Olympics. Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images.

In 2012, Shields became the first American woman to earn an Olympic gold medal in boxing, a monumental achievement for anyone, but especially for a 17-year-old who discovered the sport just six years prior.

In hearing her story, it's abundantly clear: Nothing — not doubt, not money, not family hardship — will stop Claressa Shields. Absolutely nothing.

Long before she stepped in the ring, Shields was a fighter.

In Flint, Michigan, her family faced extreme poverty (she even went without food so her younger siblings could eat). Shields was sexually assaulted and molested as a child, and she often stayed with relatives and friends, as her own home life was unpredictable.

But with writing, prayer, and a push from her dad, she quite literally fought her way through an unthinkable upbringing.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

Shields' father was incarcerated for most of her childhood. But after his release, he introduced his daughter to his first love: boxing.

He told her all about the champ, Muhammad Ali, and his daughter, celebrated boxer Laila Ali. That was all Claressa needed to hear.

At 11, he signed her up for lessons at a local boxing gym. She took to the demanding sport almost instantly, leaving quite an impression on trainer Jason Crutchfield.

"She was catching on real quick, real quick," Crutchfield told Independent Lens. "I said: 'Whoa! You need to come with me.' And I just took her under my wing from there."

GIF via PBS/YouTube.

Life at home was inconsistent and uncertain, but boxing and the gym became her safe haven.

While her friends started going to parties on weekends, Shields spent her Fridays in the gym, training with Crutchfield. Her entire life revolved around boxing.

Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

She soon earned the nickname T-Rex for her slight frame and short arms. "But I used to always be swinging," she told ESPNW.

It's that drive, that fire, that helped Shields earn the gold medal in London in 2012.

Photos by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

And she hasn't lost a bout since. Seriously.

When she returns to the games this month, Shields will have more than a medal on her mind.

Not just silencing women's boxing's many critics or becoming the first American boxer (male or female) to win back-to-back boxing gold medals, but bringing much-needed attention to the city she loves. Shields is one of Flint's hometown heroes, and the embattled community could really use one right now.

GIF via PBS/YouTube.

"I'm fighting for my family, I'm fighting for my future, I'm fighting for my city -- to give them some hope and faith, because it's so bad in Flint," Shields told ESPNW. "I always fight harder than I would if I were fighting for just a medal."

Shields' story is one of triumph, courage, and grit.

In 2012, she shared some writing from her journal with the New Yorker. In her entry from December 2011, the then-16-year old wrote in her journal (which she named Olympia):

"It just hit me. The reason that I box is to prove dudes, men wrong. They say women can’t box? Olympia man I’m finna start training so hard there’s no male can even see a mistake in me.”


Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

She has no time for doubts. No time for haters. She's in it to win it. And with heart and talent like hers, she just might.

Want to see T-Rex in action? A documentary about her OlympIc journey, "T-Rex: Her Fight for Gold," premieres Aug. 2 on PBS.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

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Interviewee's case of mistaken identity is pure gold.

We've all been there at some point or another, nervously waiting for a big job interview hoping you don't sweat through your good shirt. Interviews are stressful but there's likely no job interview more stressful than the one Guy Goma went on in 2006 for the BBC, when he was mistaken for an expert for a news segment. The person they were supposed to interview for the news segment was Guy Kewney, an actual music industry expert. But with cameras rolling and questions being asked, Goma took a deep breath and answered the newscaster.

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Howie Hua shares helpful math tips and tricks on social media.

Math is weird.

On the one hand, it's consistent—the solutions to basic math problems are the same in every country in the world. On the other hand, there are multiple strategies to get to those solutions, and it seems like people are still coming up with new ones (much to the chagrin of parents whose kids need help with homework using methods they've never learned).

Math professor Howie Hua shares math strategies that make math easier on social media, and his videos are fascinating. Hua, who teaches math to future elementary school teachers at Fresno State, demonstrates all kinds of mental math tricks that feel like magic when you try them.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Joy

Video of two 90-year-old sisters saying goodbye shoots straight to the heart

“If we don’t see each other again on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven."

@stephanieatkinson/TikTok

Don't say goodbye.

A video making the rounds online is reminding us all that love transcends all time and distance.

94-year-old Barbara Carolan of Seabrook, Massachusetts, hadn’t been able to see her 90-year-old sister Shirley, who lives in Nevada, since 2020.

When it became clear to Barbara that she might not have much time left to spend with her beloved sister, she prepared to make the 2,700-mile cross country trip to say goodbye.
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This innovative sustainable luggage will elevate your travel game

Horizn Studios uses cutting edge design, materials, and manufacturing to make high-end luggage, backpacks, and travel accessories that are good for the planet.

Who doesn’t love the thrill of packing their bags, the anticipation of new adventures, and the joy of exploring unseen corners of the world? There’s something magical about travel, about the stories we gather and the memories we create. Yet, in the midst of all this excitement, it’s easy to overlook the ecological footprint we leave behind on the very places we cherish.

As we traverse our beautiful planet, every choice we make matters—including the choices about how we carry our essentials. Luckily, we don’t have to compromise on the way we travel to protect the beauty of our planet. Because a brand called Horizn Studios is redefining what it means to travel with conscience and style.

The Problem With Most Luggage

Few things can elevate your travel game like beautifully designed luggage. Anyone who’s ever gone anywhere knows the right gear can make it easier to move around, catch flights, and navigate unfamiliar terrain. It also provides peace of mind because you know your stuff is safe, secure, and accessible. However, these days we can no longer afford to put style and comfort ahead of the planet.

Right now the world is producing almost 400 million metric tons of plastics per year, and over the last 50 years more than 130 million metric tons of plasticshave accumulated in our oceans, lakes, and rivers. And most travel gear on the market today is part of the problem for two very simple reasons: it’s not built to last, and it’s not made using sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

But choosing eco-friendly travel gear doesn’t have to mean settling for less. Horizn Studios stands at the forefront of a revolution, crafting luggage, backpacks, and travel accessories that look good and do good.

Driven By Innovation

When it comes to eco-friendly travel gear, Horizn Studios is a revolution on 360° spinner wheels. This company is pushing boundaries with innovative materials and features. It started when they launched the world's first suitcases with removable chargers, which ensure your devices never die when you need them most. But Horizn didn't stop there. Their commitment to a greener future drove them to pioneer the use of recycled polycarbonate and plant-based materials, crafting luggage that's not only durable but also kind to the planet.

Horizn’s quest to innovate also led to cool collaborations with iconic brands like BMW, Beats By Dre, and Soho House, not to mention some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. These partnerships infuse Horizn products with unparalleled ingenuity and style, ensuring that every product, from backpacks to travel accessories, stands at the intersection of high-end functionality and sustainability.

World's Most Sustainable High-End Luggage

At the heart of Horizn Studios' ethos is a deep-rooted commitment to sustainability, a principle that guides every step of their design and manufacturing process. For example, their Circle One collection boasts the world’s first 100% plant-based hard shell. Meanwhile, their RE Series utilizes an impressive 97% recycled polycarbonate.

Horizn’s commitment to sustainability also extends every step of their products’ lifecycle. For example, Horizn’s Stop, Drop & Roll recycling program allows travelers to bring in old luggage (of any make) for proper recycling, offering Horizn store credit in return. For Horizn Studios sustainability isn't just a buzzword. This holistic approach to sustainable travel, from the use of recycled and vegan materials to end-of-life product management, solidifies Horizn as a true leader in the movement toward a more sustainable and mindful way of exploring the world.

Style Meets Functionality

Beyond their commitment to sustainability, what also sets Horizn Studios apart from other brands is their attention to high-end style and innovative functionality. All of their products combine sleek design and high performance durability, so that practicality and style exist in perfect harmony.

When you buy luggage from Horizn Studios you get tons of innovative features. These include things like integrated removable chargers, TSA-approved locks, smart compartments for laptops and other essentials, durable water-resistant fabrics, and ultra-light materials—in other words, the sorts of things that refine and enhance your travel experience.

Travel Products for the Next Generation

Products designed to last five years are manufactured in the cheapest way possible. That’s why they don’t cost very much. If you want quality and sustainability, you have to invest a little more. With Horizn, when you make an investment to enhance travel experience, you know you are getting the best of the best—smart, beautiful luggage that is ethically designed and manufactured from start to finish. And best of all, every piece comes with a lifetime warranty and a risk-free 100-day trial, so you can test the waters with complete confidence.


Are you ready to experience the magic of traveling with luggage that's built to last, designed to impress, and crafted with the future in mind? Take Horizn Studios sustainable luggage on your next adventure.