Posts tagged "errol spence"

A second chance at Olympic gold: the Errol Spence Jr. story

By Josh Blessing  and Alex Kartman |  BSU at the Games

His journey began inside a run-down boxing gym in southern Dallas.

Now the No. 1 U.S. welterweight boxer, Errol Spence Jr. finds himself fighting for a medal in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympic Games Tuesday night.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience representing your country,” Spence Jr. said. “Making your country at the top, being No. 1 again…that’s a big honor.”

Spence Jr., who opened the Games with a 16-10 victory, advanced to Tuesday’s quarterfinals after his 13-11 loss versus India’s Krishan Vikas in the round of 16 was overturned. The decision came nearly four hours after the match.

“I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win,” Spence Jr. said. “I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.”

The International Amateur Boxing Association unanimously overturned the decision upon reviewing video of the fight after USA Boxing filed a protest. The AIBA ruled the referee should have awarded Spence Jr. four more points, making the score 15-13.

The decision allows Spence Jr. to continue chasing his gold medal dream just like his idol growing up: former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who won gold at the 1988 Soul Olympics.

“Muhammad Ali was an influence for me and I’m glad, happy and overjoyed that somebody else has gained influence from my boxing,” Lewis said. “I wish him the best and I hope he does well.”

The quarterfinal match versus Russia’s Andrey Zamkovoy is set to start at 5 P.M. EST.

Check out our full photo gallery on Errol Spence, Jr.

Josh Blessing is a junior telecommunications major and Alex Kartman is a graduate student studying digital storytelling at Ball State University. They both cover sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Josh, Alex and the BSU team at @JoshJBlessing@ajkartman@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Daily Video: The Errol Spence Jr. Story Promo

Here’s a sneak peek of Monday’s BSU at the Games exclusive with USA Boxing’s Errol Spence, Jr.

From the age of 15 boxing in Dallas at the tiny Vivero Boxing Gym, to Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in downtown Dallas to seven national championships – Spence has his sights set on Olympic gold in London.

The Errol Spence Jr. Story promo

Photo Gallery: Errol Spence, Jr.

In one of the biggest scoring controversies of the Games so far, Team USA boxer Errol Spence, Jr. was awarded a victory Friday night in his fight against Indian boxer Krishan Vikas after the jury reversed the original ruling that Vikas had won. Of 9 boxers competing for Team USA, Spence is the only one remaining in the running for a medal. He will compete again on Tuesday.

Photos by Valerie Carnevale.

Daily Video: Errol Spence, Jr. Promo

Here’s a sneak peek at the upcoming BSU at the Games exclusive with USA Boxing’s Errol Spence, Jr.

From the age of 15 boxing in Dallas at the tiny Vivero Boxing Gym, to Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in downtown Dallas to seven national championships – Spence has his sights set on Olympic gold in London. Our story is coming this July!

Follow BSU at the Games on Twitter @bsuatthegames and visit our official site, www.london.bsuatthegames.com.

Behind every great story—a great relationship

Errol Spence, Jr., doesn’t know what I am about to write.  Neither does Eric Shanteau.  But I am convinced those two individuals entered my life for a reason this week.

The same holds true for Thomas Finchum, Kayla Harrison, Travis Stevens, Joseph Diaz, Jr., and David Boudia.

And even though I haven’t met Miles Chamley-Watson in person yet, you can put a check by his name too.  Chalk one up for the good guys (and gals).

Even though this is my first blog post about this amazing Olympic experience, the relationships have been building for many months. It was more than evident in Dallas.

Maybe it was because I was sitting inside the boxing ring at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym in Downtown Dallas, but it hit me harder than Spence’s signature south-paw punch, and I couldn’t have been happier.

While more than 450 other media members packed into a room to listen to Michael Phelps or First Lady Michelle Obama over at the Hilton Anatole, Josh Blessing and I were forming a bond with Spence, his coach, Derrick James, and his father, Spence Sr.—a bond that, after four days, will last a lifetime.  Sign me up, I am officially a member of Team Spence.

I’ve worked in sports my whole life, and by this time, my instincts never have proven me wrong. I knew going to Dallas this was a chance to do something special.  Just do a quick Google search on Errol Spence, Jr., and USA Boxing, and you’ll see what I mean.

His story is amazing.  From the tiny, rundown Vivero Boxing Gym in Oak Cliff to becoming a three-time national welterweight champion and Olympic medalist hopeful in London.  Oh, and he’s only 22 years old. He’s the son of a Jamaican immigrant.  His biggest influence is his mother (mine too).

Josh and I spent the better part of our trip researching, making connections and shooting video for this story.  Instinct.

When I picked up Errol from the hotel and we drove together to Maple Avenue for the interview, we connected.  Not since working with former Ball State athlete, John Wooden Award winner and dear friend Peyton Stovall have I seen a smile or the charisma Spence has.

I can’t wait to unleash my own creativity and experience with Josh on this story.  Spence deserves my best, and he’ll get it.  And I’ll be in London—hopefully in the stands as often as I can—to support Spence every step of the way.  He deserves that too.

Less than two hours later, it was the inspirational Shanteau who delivered the knock out.

We talked about his journey over the last four years as a cancer survivor, the loss of his father to the same dreaded disease and his mission to spread cancer awareness in young adults.

It too was more than an interview. We spent an hour talking about life and how it changed for him. Little did he know, it was changing for me too. We connected.

I collected more than 75 business cards in Dallas, shared stories and worked with our students in an environment I will never forget. We met with more than 100 athletes and logged more than 600 minutes of interviews. There’s more coming.  Heck, we haven’t even made it to London yet.

But it’s more than just the connections and the stories, it’s the people.  It’s building relationships. It’s being real, having a passion for what you do and caring for people.

Spence and Shanteau know all about those things.

Chris Taylor  |  Adviser

@BallStateCT

2012 Team USA Media Summit


Seven members of the BSU at the Games team interviewed athletes and viewed sports demonstrations at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas in May. Read more about it here.

Photos by Ryan Sparrow and Chris Taylor.

 

Athletes in order of appearance:

1. Kayla Harrison (Judo) 2. Mary Killman and Maria Koroleva (Synchronized Swimming) 3. Brady Ellison (Archery) 4. Brady Ellison 5. Errol Spence, Jr. (Boxing) 6. Michael Phelps (Swimming) 7. First Lady Michelle Obama 8. Rau’Shee Warren (Boxing) 9. Mary Killman (Synchronized Swimming) 10. Alex Meyer (Swimming) 11. Alexander Massiaslas (Fencing) 12. Hunter Kemper (Triathlon) 13. Jessica Long (Paralympic Swimming) 14. Thomas Finchum (Diving) 15. Joseph Diaz, Jr. (Boxing) 16. Wallace Spearmon (Track & Field) 17. Trey Hardee (Track & Field) 18. Nastia Liukin (Gymnastics) 19. Joshua Richmond (Shooting)

Thoughts from a plane over Dallas

So I waited to write this blog on the flight home for two reasons: 1) because these past six days for me have been so fast-paced I haven’t had time and 2) I honestly didn’t know what I would say, so I figured I’d use it as reflection. I’ll do my best to keep you guys entertained.

I first wanted to give a shout out to Pat, C.T., Brandon, Ryan, Emily (Thompson) and Emily (Barker) for somehow figuring out a way to make this flight in the first place with minutes to spare … Don’t ask.

I remember walking to class months ago when Ryan came up to me about the idea of traveling to London for the Olympic Games. If I said I wasn’t skeptical at first, well, I’d be lying. But after these past few days working alongside some of the top journalists in the country and speaking with some of the best athletes in the world, it’s safe to say I made the right decision to jump on board.

Being the only college students at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit, I assumed we wouldn’t get a fair chance. I assumed we would be shoved to the side and given limited access. Not the case—not even close. We had just as much of an opportunity to speak with the big athletes as anyone else, and we took full advantage of that.

As I registered, the lady behind the desk goes, “Oh, Ball State? We’ve heard about you guys.” We were respected. People knew who we were and we’d just arrived.

Perhaps the defining moment for all of us was the opening reception. There we were,  a bunch of college kids (plus C.T. and Ryan) sitting at a table as America’s top athletes strolled on by. Having athletes come up to me and say they loved my USA Diving piece on Thomas Finchum … nothing can beat that. Nothing.

Interviewing one of the world’s top boxers, Errol Spence, Jr., in the middle of a boxing ring in downtown Dallas, are you  kidding me? I’m just a college kid, I shouldn’t have these opportunities— but for whatever reason, I do. And amidst it all I never once took it for granted.  I’ll admit I may or may not have gotten flustered when Olympic Beijing gold medalist Nastia Luikin stepped into the room. That’s because, well … no comment.

I could go on forever. I could sit here 30,000 feet up and ramble on about this trip and go through every connection I made or every amazing athlete I came across, but I won’t because I don’t know how long blogs typically go and I feel like I’m near that limit.

BSU at the Games has a chance to do something special here. We have the chance to build our résumés and gain experience in ways other college students will only dream of. This is our chance to stand out from the rest of the  universities and show them what we do in sports media and journalism at Ball State.  Let’s embrace this opportunity and hold onto it. I know I am. See you guys in London.

2014 Russian Winter Games … Any takers? I’m down.

Josh Blessing  |  Sports Reporter

@joshjblessing