With all the US men eliminated from the London Olympics, all hope for nabbing a gold in boxing seemed like a foregone conclusion.
For the women, however, all hope was not lost. Both Flyweight Marlen Esparza and Middleweight Claressa Shields have clinched bronze medals in the inaugural women's boxing competition.
For the first time in history women's boxing has been permitted into the Olympics and the US has wasted no time in producing dominant competitors.
Both boxers made it passed the quarterfinal fights on Monday and have earned double bronzes, but their sights are set for a much higher reward.
Esparza stated in an article by ESPN's Bonnie B. Ford,
"In the U.S., if it's not a gold, it's not good enough,'' said 23-year-old Esparza.
Winning a medal is a huge accomplishment for Olympians, but to not be satisfied unless it's gold is truly remarkable. Many athletes would count themselves lucky for even reaching bronze at the Olympics. However, Esparza's fiery attitude and willingness to never settle could be the key needed to push her past the semifinals for a crack at the gold medal.
She is not alone in her quest, as 17-year old Shields also fights for her life to win gold and to keep US boxers relevant in the Olympics.
“I have a strong determination not to lose, I feel like growing up, I lost so much. I just want to be a winner. I love boxing, I put all my time into boxing, and I feel like I deserve to win.”
The women are taking control and making history unlike their male counterparts. If the US men are sent home packing without a medal it will be the first time in Olympic history.
It's nonsense to believe that the women's medals are not substitutes for the men's even though the competition brackets are smaller. What these two US Olympians accomplished in their own right is truly something for the history books.