Chun Grapples Her Way To Olympics

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - February 02, 2011
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Local girl Clarissa Chun is wrestling her way to the Olympics with hopes of one day winning a gold medal.

“2011 is kind of a big year because it’s the year before the Olympics, so there are a lot of tournaments, and this is the year we qualify for our weight and our country,” says Chun, who competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, losing in the bronze medal round.

This week, she competes in an international tournament in Colorado Springs, and at the end of the month goes to France for another international tournament as well as the World Cup.

Chun, 29, grew up doing judo before discovering wrestling at Roosevelt High. She was eventually offered a wrestling scholarship at Missouri Valley College, and later transferred to the University of Colorado where she graduated in 2005 with a communications degree.

“During my junior year in Missouri, they announced that they were going to have women’s wrestling in the Olympics for the first time,” recalls Chun, who was the 2008 world champion. “My ultimate goal is gold at the Olympics. That would be really awesome.”

Chun, who competes in the 48 kg/105.5 pounds weight class, is a member of the national team and trains full-time in Colorado Springs where she wrestles for Sunkist Kids.

In December, she captured her second straight international tournament victory when she won the gold medal at the Open Cup in Russia. In November, she took home the gold at the New York AC Freestyle International.

Chun, who admits that her training can be so grueling some days that she needs to take a nap in between practices to recover, says her motivation to train hard comes from her goal of becoming an Olympic champion.

“There are days where we work on technique and it’s a little less grueling than the days where we go like at match pace,” she says. “With training, I know it’s how much you put into the workout and I have to hold myself accountable to my goals. If I just go through the motion of practice, I’m probably not training to be an Olympic champion. And that’s what I want to be.”

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