HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Clarissa Chun’s wrestling resume is studded with stars. She helped blaze a trail for women in a sport that not so long ago was thoroughly dominated by men.
“They would sell tshirts saying, ‘Girls play volleyball, boys play basketball, and men wrestle,’” she said.
Chun did her part to break those barriers.
At Roosevelt High School, she won Hawaii’s first girl’s state wrestling championship.
She was the first wrestler from Hawaii to make Team USA’s Olympic team, and the first Hawaii female wrestler to capture an Olympic medal.
You can also add four USA wrestling championships to her long list of accolades.
“It gave me opportunities at a college level to get a scholarship, and gave me many more opportunities beyond that,” she said.
The sport has taken Chun around the world. Now it’s taking her to the ultimate honor. Next year, she will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. She’s humbled by the recognition.
“I just feel like there’s so many other candidates that I’ve looked up to in wrestling, female wrestlers specifically, that I believe that could and should be in the Hall of Fame as well,” she said.
Chun lives in Colorado Springs, where she helps develop USA Wrestling’s women’s national team.
“I love this level of coaching,” she said. “How awesome is it that I get to work with high-performing athletes.”
In 2012, Chun took the Olympic Bronze medal at the London Games, defeating a former Gold medalist. But even more special than that accomplishment has been the support from her family.
“It wasn’t making the Olympic team that defined who I am. For them they admired the fact that I persevered,” she said.
Chun is just 4-foot-11, but in the sport of women’s wrestling she’s now recognized as one of its giants.
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