Why I’m Standing With President Obama Today: Sandra Fluke

Why I’m Standing With President Obama Today: Sandra Fluke

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Cheryl Dorsey

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Cheryl Dorsey

Women’s News: Shields, Taylor, Adams Win Women’s Boxing Titles

Women’s News: Shields, Taylor, Adams Win Women’s Boxing Titles

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: Shields, Taylor, Adams Win Women’s Boxing Titles

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer

LONDON August 9, 2012 (AP)

Claressa Shields ducked one punch, deftly leaned away from another, and stuck her tongue out at her Russian opponent. Just an American teenager having a little fun.

After all, Nadezda Torlopova is nearly twice Shields’ age and about half her speed. And Shields had to laugh at any boxer trying to get between her and a historic Olympic gold medal.

The 17-year-old middleweight from Flint, Mich., beat Torlopova 19-12 on Thursday, capping her rapid ascent through women’s boxing with a title in its Olympic debut.

“This was something I wanted for a long time, even when boxing wasn’t going all right, even when my life wasn’t going all right,” said Shields, who found sanctuary in a boxing gym during a rough childhood.

“All I wanted was a gold medal, and I kept working towards it, even when people were saying I couldn’t do it. I’m too young. I couldn’t do it. There were girls who were going to beat me because of better experience, more experience. I proved them all wrong.”

Shields did it in style — shuffle-stepping, brawling and even winning over a crowd that showed up to cheer Irish lightweight Katie Taylor and British flyweight Nicola Adams, who also won gold medals.

Shields had her hand over her heart on the medal podium when she abruptly burst into laughter, her head snapping back almost as if she had just been punched in the face.

Ireland’s Katie Taylor, celebrates winning… View Full Caption

That’s a feeling her opponents in the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament know quite well.

Only they’re not laughing.

“I’m surprised I didn’t cry,” Shields said. “I was sweating, though.”

Shields, Taylor and Adams triumphed in rapid succession on the final day of the London Games’ landmark tournament, claiming the first Olympic titles in a growing sport that was banned in Britain until 1996.

The five-day event was one of London’s biggest hits. And even amid the sea of Irish fans cheering Taylor’s every move, Shields was one of the breakout stars of the games. An ugly Olympics for the U.S. team ended with a performance worthy of Cassius Clay, Joe Frazier, Oscar De La Hoya and every American Olympic champion that came before Shields.

Shields found her purpose with coach Jason Crutchfield at Berston Field House in Flint after her father — who spent seven years of Claressa’s childhood in prison — infused her with a passion for boxing. Shields has turned into a polished athlete with a wild streak in the ring.

Even the 33-year-old Torlopova had to applaud the ascent of her division’s new ruler.

“She’s young, after all, and she’s quicker,” Torlopova said. “It happens that speed overcame experience. Something was lacking, most probably speed. After the second round, when they announced I was two points down, I knew that was it. … You have to know how to lose. She’s a worthy opponent. Good job.”

Shields capped her rise through the amateur ranks in the past two years with three strong performances in the London ring, providing USA Boxing with a much-needed boost. Shields won the 12-member American team’s only gold medal in London, and flyweight Marlen Esparza took a bronze, but the winningest nation in Olympic boxing history got no medals from its men’s team for the first time.

“I don’t think anybody would feel bad about me representing them,” Shields said. “I think I did a pretty good job.”

Most of the raucous crowd came to see Taylor, who won Ireland’s first gold medal at these Olympics amid a patriotic fervor of Irish flags, songs and thousands of devoted fans who treat her as a sports icon at home.

Taylor’s victory, a 10-8 win over Russia’s Sofya Ochigava, was perhaps the least memorable part of the afternoon. She barely beat Ochigava in a defensive fight, relying on a 4-1 points swing in the third round after trailing midway through the bout.

Unlike most of Taylor’s fights, the result was still in doubt when the judges’ scores were announced. Taylor fell to her knees and looked skyward when her arm was raised, bringing an even louder roar from the fans, many of them in green face paint and elaborate Irish-themed costumes.

Taylor took a victory lap of ExCel arena after the medal ceremony, trailing a green, white and orange Irish flag behind her.

“It’s been the dream of my life,” said Taylor, a four-time world champion. “The support was incredible. I was a bit shaky during the fight. She is a great boxer.”

Ochigava predicted Wednesday she would lose a close fight to the arena favorite, and Taylor’s longtime foil wore an exasperated look of disbelief after the final scores were announced. She accepted her silver medal with arms folded across her chest, refusing to acknowledge the crowd’s cheers — but she hugged Taylor when all the medalists posed for photos later.

“It was difficult to fight when everything is against you,” Ochigava said. “There’s a lot of support for Katie, but I imagined that all of them are supporting me. I wanted to get the gold. It seemed I could do almost anything, but it wasn’t enough.”

Taylor is the unofficial pound-for-pound champion of women’s boxing after winning her world titles with an entertaining style. Ochigava is Taylor’s only rival for lightweight supremacy, and the Russian criticized Taylor on Wednesday after both fighters won semifinal bouts, saying her Irish foe gets star treatment from referees and judges.

Try telling that to the crowd that embraced Taylor with unmatched fervor, realizing the Irish team’s flag-bearer was their best hope for gold in London. Taylor eventually teared up as she left the ring in her robe, but got it together for the medal ceremony, taking another victory lap around the arena with the flag trailing behind her.

Adams got nearly as much love for a victory that was perhaps even more impressive. She stunned world champion Ren Cancan of China in a 16-7 win that was met with cheers from a crowd that included the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton.

Adams knocked down Ren — a rare occurrence in such a high-level amateur fight — in the second round with a left to the throat and a right to the head. She eventually finished off the top-seeded flyweight, dominating the middle rounds by a combined 10-3.

Adams celebrated the final bell by throwing a few punches at the roaring home crowd. Adams’ two British teammates also were favored to medal, but lost early.

“I am so happy and overwhelmed with joy right now,” Adams said. “I have wanted this all my life, and I have done it.”

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Cheryl Dorsey

It was 1990, and black babies were dying at three times the rate of white babies in inner-city Boston, home to some of the world’s top hospitals. Cheryl Dorsey, a Harvard medical student, had been hearing about racial disparity in infant mortality and thought it “an egregious affair.” So when Nancy Oriol, a Harvard faculty member, suggested working together on a solution, Dorsey threw herself into the project full force, postponing her internship and residency in pediatrics.

“Nancy and I, two women of color, thought, ‘How can our most vulnerable citizens not be getting a chance at life?’ ” Dorsey, now 46, recalls. After many late nights at Oriol’s kitchen table, the two launched Family Van in 1992. The mobile health program served 1,292 Boston residents of all ages that first year and now serves about 7,000 annually, doing its part in helping to close the infant mortality gap.

Against the grain. It was Dorsey’s first experience in what would become her life’s passion—social change. And in many ways, she’s come full circle: Family Van was funded in part with a grant Dorsey received as a fellow at Echoing Green, a nonprofit investor in young social entrepreneurs, which Dorsey now leads. Other Echoing Green-sponsored organizations launched in the early 1990s include Teach for America, Jumpstart, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “It was an unparalleled community of young people going against the grain, trying to take on really tough problems with a real commitment to actually trying to solve them,” she says. Dorsey completed her internship and residency, then left her doctor’s coat behind for good.

She joined Echoing Green’s board in 1998 and served on several fellowship selection panels before stepping down in 2001 to consult for the group, which was seeking new leadership. Dorsey thought she’d stay a few months but was named president in May 2002. “The organization transformed my life,” she says. “It made sense for someone who really understood the program to take over the reins.”

Why I’m Standing With President Obama Today: Sandra Fluke

Sandra Fluke

Public Interest Law Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center


President Obama is in Denver today to outline the choice in this election and how it will affect every woman in America. This election decides whether years of struggle for basic health care rights that so many women fought for will be rolled back. I’ll be standing with the President in Colorado because I believe we must defend those rights — and that means reelecting a President who stands with us.

This choice is personal for all of us because it will impact each of our lives. But for me, it’s intensely personal. Earlier this year, I was publicly attacked by Rush Limbaugh and others for testifying before members of Congress. I had shared stories of my friends and other young women, stories no different from those I’ve heard from women who also worry about having the health care they need.

Fortunately, we have a President who has fought for our right to quality, affordable care. That’s the promise behind President Obama’s health reform: we should have access to basic health care no matter where we work or study or what gender we are. And Obamacare is already delivering access to care for millions of women.

As of one week ago, thanks to Obamacare, 47 million nationwide who are starting to get preventive care, like cancer screenings, well-woman visits and contraception, at no cost.

When Obamacare takes full effect, we’ll never again be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition like being a survivor of domestic violence or breast cancer, or having had a Caesarean section. Nor will we ever again be charged more than men for the same insurance just because we’re women.

Since day one, President Obama has fought for women’s health care rights and the economic security that goes with access to affordable insurance. I wish that were true for Mitt Romney.

Mr. Romney offers only dangerous promises to roll back these rights. I’m going to take him at his word — and every woman in America should, too. On Obamacare, he says he’ll “kill it dead” on day one, eliminating mandatory coverage for lifesaving preventive care and once again lettinginsurance companies play by their own rules.

Mr. Romney has said over and over that he would “get rid” of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is a provider for more than 3 million people across the country who need cancer screenings and other basic health care. He also applauded a proposed law that would allow any employer, religious or not, to deny employees coverage for any medical service, not just contraception.

That’s an alarming lack of vision from someone who wants to lead our country. But I’ve already seen what Mr. Romney’s lack of leadership looks like.

When I was verbally attacked earlier this year, I was heartened by the many Americans who reached out in support, regardless of their politics. President Obama was one of them. He condemned those hateful words and supported my right to speak without being attacked.

Mr. Romney was not. When Rush Limbaugh called me a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking about medical needs for contraception, Mr. Romney could only say that it “wasn’t the language [he] would have used.” If Mr. Romney can’t stand up to the extreme voices in his own party, we know he’ll never stand up for women and protect the rights that generations of women fought so hard to ensure.

As we register to vote — as we walk into the voting booth — we must remember the choice we’re making. One option is a candidate who promises to turn back the clock on women’s rights and our access to health care.

Thankfully, we have a far better option: President Obama, who has consistently stood up for us, for our rights and for our health. It’s a personal choice for each of us, but one that carries consequences for every woman in America.

Sandra Fluke is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and an activist for women and women’s health.

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