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Cast: Claressa "T-Rex" Shields,
Director: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari
T-Rex is an intimate coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. For the first time, Women's Boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for the gold from the U.S. is Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, the youngest competitor at just 17 years old. From the hard knock streets of Flint, Michigan, Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring. She protects her family at any cost, even when their instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream.
The one stabilizing force in her life, coach Jason Crutchfield, has trained her since she was just a scrawny 11-year-old hanging out at his gym. Jason always wanted a champion, he just never thought it'd be a girl. Her relationships with her coach and her family grow tense as she gets closer to her dream. Claressa desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.
"T-Rex" tells the story of Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, at 11 years old she entered a boxing gym owned by Jason Crutchfield. A promising fighter himself but he had to quit due to a family illness. Jason immediately saw that Claressa had something special who he took her under his wings and became her coach. As the film starts, we see Claressa as she travels to China for the World Championships. If she finishes well there, she will earn a spot on the first ever Women's Olympic Boxing Team in 2012.
The film focuses on Claressa's boxing journey but it also highlights her life outside the ring as a 17-year-old school girl in Flint Michigan. It also tells us about her tough childhood in a broken home and how easy it could have been to fall through the cracks and become another statistic. Thanks to her Coach who let her live with his wife and him she could then focus on boxing and winning a gold medal.
After all her hard work and being to first ever woman to win a gold medal Claressa could not find any endorsement deals. I am not sure if her cockiness in saying she liked to beat up people had anything to do with it or not but it did seem strange that a first time woman winning a gold medal in a first time event in the Olympics never got any real offers. We watch as her and her coach struggle with the idea of her going pro or waiting four years to go to the 2016 Olympics. In the end they decided to wait because she is training now for her second time and hopefully she will win gold again.
T-Rex" is an inspirational story about a young lady who just wants a better life for her family and herself. I have to admit I did not see Claressa fight back in 2012 but I will be glued to the TV this coming August. I highly recommend checking out this terrific documentary, "T-Rex" has begun a theatrical release and is now available to rent or own on Vimeo on Demand. The film will make its cable debut August 2 on PBS as part of the Independent Lens screening series. Claressa "T-Rex" Shields is not only an inspiration to young girls everywhere but she is an inspiration to everyone and she teaches us to chase our dreams no matter what.
Released by Independent Lens
***** Out Of *****