Meet an Olympian: Marlen Esparza

Via Women You Should Know: "Twenty-two year old, 5'3" boxer Marlen Esparza will be making history competing in women's boxing for the first time as an Olympic event. Boxing since the age of 11, Marlen is already a winner. She holds the bronze medal from the 2006 Women's World Boxing Championships, and is a six-time consecutive National flyweight champion. Ranked sixth in the world, Marlen is a serious medal contender in London and will be fighting her way to gold, turning her dreams into reality along the way."

Recently, Soledad O'Brien profiled Esparza for CNN's Latino in America series:

Marlen Esparza, a young Latina woman, stretches next to her car at sunrise, then begins to jog down a quiet suburban street. Cut to video of her in a boxing ring, punching another female boxer. Montage of her training, fighting, winning. In voiceover, she says, "When you beat somebody in the ring, you're not just beating them up or something. You're, like, beating the entire symbolism of them. You're beating who they are."

Montage of Esparza doing push-ups, fixing herself a shake at home, more training and sparring. In voiceover, CNN's Soledad O'Brien says, "Marlen Esparza's early mornings always start with math—how much to eat, how far to run, how many pounds, sprints, crunches, how many endless hours of training will it take to win?"

Video of O'Brien sitting down with Esparza in the gym. O'Brien asks, "Why are you here every day?"

Esparza, smiling: "Because I want to win. This is my life, and this is what I do, like, and I can honestly say, like, this is who I am, like, right here, you're with it, you see it, this is what I do."

More montagery of Esparza training at the gym. In voiceover, O'Brien says, "Esparza trains in a gym along a lonely stretch of Houston's I-10. Coach Rudy Silva took charge of her life when she was just 12. She's now 22."

Video of O'Brien sitting with Silva. "Is she allowed to have a boyfriend," O'Brien asks. "No." "Is she allowed to party on the weekends?" "No." "Is she allowed to just take a few days off and not train when she's worn out?" "No." "That's a lotta nos." "Yes." He smiles.

More montagery of Esparza winning bouts and showing off her medals/belts and grinning. In voiceover, O'Brien says, "Esparza won the first of seven national championships by age 16. She dreamed of fighting at the Olympics, even though boxing was the only sport that didn't allow woman."

Video of O'Brien standing with Esparza in the ring at the gym. "The Olympics is a goal—a big goal," says O'Brien. Esparza replies, "Yeah, it's huge. It's probably—I honestly, truly feel like if I go to the Olympics and medal, that, uh, I could probably be totally happy for the rest of my life." O'Brien chuckles. "Yeah," adds Esparza, "like completely happy."

More montagery of Esparza training, shooting a Coke advert, meeting fans, and signing autographs. In voiceover, O'Brien says, "Now the Olympic glass ceiling has been shattered, women will be boxing at the London Games for the first time in history. Sponsors have lined up behind Marlen—Nike, Covergirl, Coca-Cola. And her community is excited to have a Latina star." In voiceover, Esparza says, "The Mexicans are tooootally gonna love it—they're gonna freak when it happens!"

Video of Esparza boxing. In voiceover, O'Brien says, "Esparza was the first American female boxer to qualify for the Games. Her dream of going to the Olympics is now just around the corner."

Onscreen, Esparza says, "I think like the atmosphere and the energy is just gonna be like something I've never felt, and I think that's one of the main things that I'm kind of looking forward to. I think that's really gonna put me over the top and ready to compete." Video of Esparza being given a USA boxing medal after winning a fight.

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