Clarissa Chun, left, and Stephany Lee will represent Hawaii in 2012 Summer Games. Photo courtesy of Team USA
Wahine wrestlers London-bound
By Simplicio Paragas
Two of Hawaii’s daughters are headed to the Olympics in London, England this month to compete in a sport that was once reserved for men. Moanalua High School graduate Stephany Lee joins 2008 Olympian and Roosevelt High alumna Clarissa Chun as members of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team.
Women’s freestyle wrestling was officially recognized as an Olympic sport during the 2004 Games in Athens. Since then, Hawaii has often sent one of the largest contingents of female wrestlers vying for positions on the U.S. National Team. Lee and Chun represent two of the four female wrestlers who will compete in this year’s Games.
To get there, Lee upset top seeds in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, first surprising 2008 Olympian Ali Bernard 3-1, 6-0, then defeating Iris Smith, 4-2, 2-0, in the final match of women’s freestyle at 158.5 pounds. In the 105.5-pound final, Chun beat Alyssa Lampe with a 4-1 third period. According to TheMat.com, the victory made Chun the U.S.’s first two-time Olympian in women’s freestyle wrestling. Chun won the 2008 world title and placed fifth in the Beijing Olympics.
“I almost gave myself and my coaches a heart attack,” the 30-year-old Chun told TheMat.com, which is the official website of USA wrestling. “My coach said, ‘Do you want me in your corner or what? Because you’re not hearing me, you’re not listening to anything I’m saying.”