City hosts watching party for Michigan Olympian

Posted at 7:02 PM, Aug 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 07:45:51-04

The crowd at Blackstone's anxiously watched Claressa Shields' first bout of the Rio Olympics Wednesday afternoon. A crowd that has high expectations for Shields.

"Oh gold all the way," cheers Rodney Campbell, a huge fan of Shields, "I wouldn't even be here if I didn't think that."

Shields already has one gold medal from the London Olympics, and she's aiming to be the first ever woman boxer to win two.

"We are so proud of her and she has represented us so well," says Flint mayor Karen Weaver with a smile, "and for her to go back a second time is just absolutely amazing."

As Flint tries to claw its way out of tough times with the water crisis, it sees a lot of parallels with Shields' boxing.

"For so many reasons, this is an excellent story for the city of Flint," explains state representative Phil Phelps. "Claressa Shields is a boxer which means she's a fighter. To be of the caliber of fighter that she is she's had to persevere, she's had to train hard, and she's had to never give up to get to where she's at."

Which, to mayor Weaver, is exactly what Flint needs to do:

"It resonates so strongly for us because we are still fighting," Weaver says.

Between Bouts for the city, events like these give people something to be excited about.

"It's not just a distraction from what's going on in the daily lives of individuals here, but it's something that's positive," says Phelps.

That positive outlook has people looking forward to what another medal could bring to Flint.

"If she brings home this gold, it brings a little pride back here to this town," exclaims Campbell.

And Shields is well on her way to that gold.

Shields will return to the ring on Friday at 2:30 for the semifinals, and Flint expects to have another viewing party.