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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.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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AMC Theaters/Youtube, Variety/Twitter

AMC announced that it would be implementing a new three-tier ticketing system.

AMC Theaters, America’s largest movie theater chain, announced on Feb 6 that it will be adopting different ticket prices based on seat location.

Moviegoers will have three tiers to choose from based on sightline of the movie screen—Preferred Sightline, set in the middle at the highest price point, Value Sightline, set in the front of the auditorium at the lowest price, and Standard Sightline, which is basically everything else (including the back seats, which are perhaps the most commonly picked) set at the traditional cost of a ticket.

In other words…heartbreak will feel more expensive in a place like this…or less, depending on where you sit



The company’s announcement was met with both criticism and approval. While some feel the move follows a well-established business model, others have found it to be taking away a valued aspect of the moviegoing experience.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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via Pexels

A mother puts a fresh diaper on her baby.

Scientists at Penn State University have devised a “smart diaper” that alerts parents when their baby is wet. The diaper is made of paper, treated with sodium chloride (salt) and has a circuit board drawn with a pencil.

When the humidity level rises in the diaper, the graphite and the urine are absorbed by the paper and it turns on a sensor powered by a small lithium battery. The sensor then sets the alarm on an app that parents download onto their phones.

“The hydration sensor is highly sensitive to changes in humidity and provides accurate readings over a wide range of relative humidity levels, from 5.6% to 90%,” the researchers at Penn State said in a statement.

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Pop Culture

Kelly Clarkson and Pink's gorgeous unplugged 'What About Us?' duet came with a timely​ message

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry…"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson teamed up for a sweet acoustic version of "What About Us?"

Pink and Kelly Clarkson are both known for having powerhouse voices that can belt at incredible ranges but also soften for a sweet ballad. Put the two of them together, and…well, dang.

On Feb 6, Clarkson featured Pink on her daytime talk show, in which she often sings with musical guests. The two superstars sang several acoustic duets with pitch-perfect harmonies, prompting fans of both artists to clamor for a collaborative album.

One song they sang together was Pink's "What About Us?" Pink previously described the song to The Sun in 2017: "The world in general is a really scary place full of beautiful people. Humans are resilient and there's a lot of wonderful—like I said in the song—'billions of beautiful hearts' and there are bad eggs in every group. And they make it really hard for the rest of us."

In the intro to their duet, Clarkson asked Pink about the impetus behind her writing the song.

"We're not listening to each other right now. And it's so loud, and so gross, and so angry and people are being forgotten," Pink shared. "People are being counted out and their rights are being trampled on just because a group of people doesn't believe in them."

"Like, I don't understand how so many people in this world are discounted because one group of people decided they don't like that," she continued. "And I won't—I won't have it. One of the most beautiful things that my dad taught me was that my voice matters and I can make a difference, and I will."

The lyrics of the song seem to address the political leaders and decision-makers who hold people's lives in their hands as they pull the levers of power. It's a beautiful song with an important message wrapped up in gorgeous two-part harmony.

Enjoy:

Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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