Sixteen-year-old Claressa Shields has a dream, to be at the 2012 Olympic finals and hear the announcer call out, "The first woman Olympian boxer at 165 pounds - Claressa Shields!"
But first, Shields, a high school student and middleweight boxer from Flint, Michigan, has to qualify for the team. At the Olympic trials, Shields boxes against women who are almost a decade older and much more experienced. But Shields has beaten the odds before.
Teen Contender won the Best Documentary: Gold Award in the 2012 Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. The story was produced by Joe Richman, Sue Jaye Johnson and Samara Freemark, with narrator Claressa Shields, and edited by Deborah George and Ben Shapiro, for Radio Diaries and NPR's All Things Considered.
Listen to all nine winners of the 2012 TC/RHDF Competition, here.
Joe Richman is the founder of Radio Diaries, a non-profit organization. Over the past 15 years, Radio Diaries has helped to pioneer a model for working with people to document their own lives for public radio. Richman has collaborated with teenagers and octogenarians, prisoners and prison guards, bra saleswomen and lighthouse keepers to create award-winning productions including: Teenage Diaries, Prison Diaries, My So-Called Lungs, New York Works, Thembi's AIDS Diary, Mandela: An Audio History, and Willie McGee and the Traveling Electric Chair. Before Radio Diaries, Richman worked for many years as a freelance reporter and producer for NPR programs All Things Considered, Weekend Edition-Saturday, Car Talk, and Heat. He also teaches at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Sue Jaye Johnson is an award-winning independent journalist and producer. In 2011, she spearheaded an collaboration between The New York Times, NPR and WNYC to tell the story of the first women to ever box in the Olympic games. She is now working on a film about Claressa Shields, the gold medalist from Flint, MI. Johnson has won numerous awards for her interactive documentaries including a Peabody Award, and the Columbia-DuPont Award, and a Creative Capital artist grant. She teaches visual storytelling at Harvard University.
Samara Freemark is a reporter at American Public Media's Public Insight Network. Before coming to APM she was a producer at Radio Diaries, an independent production company helping people document their own lives. She has also worked in the newsroom of Ann Arbor's NPR affiliate, and done her time in the freelancing trenches. Freemark's work has been heard on All Things Considered, UnFictional, This American Life and other outlets. Prior to settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before choosing soundwaves over spreadsheets.
Claressa's story is featured in a one-hour radio special about women's boxing, co-hosted by Rosie Perez and WNYC's Marianne McCune.
Hear all nine of the 2012 TC/RHDF Competition winners.