Olympics Dispatch: Boxer Marlen Esparza in London

Courtesy of teamusa.orgVogue

I stayed in the Olympic Village with my teammate, Queen Underwood; we've been friends and have traveled together since I first started boxing with Team USA. Since women's boxing started in the second week of the games, we didn't get to go sightseeing in London every day. Instead, we trained and then came back and ate at the buffet in the Olympic Village with all of the other athletes.

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My first fight against Venezuela (in the quarterfinals) was set for 1:30 p.m., August 6, at the Excel Arena, where weightlifting and other events were also happening. I got there early enough to make sure I had time to warm up with our coaches and also shower and put on a little bit of light foundation and blush like I do before all of my fights. When I went out into the ring and won, it was so great to have all that support and to see so many people at women's boxing. I never expected it. I was also glad to be able to help out Team USA and be the first to reach a medal round.

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One of the coolest things that has happened, though, was when my coach Rudy Silva and I were doing some hand-pad drills at the Olympic Village last weekend and a group of Team USA basketball players stopped by. I knew one of them was Kobe Bryant, but I had no idea who the other ones were. They were really impressed with my drills and hand speed and even asked to get a photo with me and my coach. After introductions, it turns out it was Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, and Kevin Durant there with Kobe.


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